Talk:WikiProject United States railways
To better harmonize towards OpenRailwayMap's documented method, the USA might consider re-tagging existing route=railways to route=tracks, then adding route=railway relations and sharpening memberships to better express what we mean. Should we do this? (This would be a vast amount of work, with no readily discernible improvement for purposes of, for example, "higher level" route=train relations). Distinctions about why "both tracks + railway" elude the way we appear to structure rail in the USA, so we listen. Using route=tracks may also be a method to express a certain aggregation style without super-relations. Is this useful? Again, we listen. Yes, ORM documents that route=tracks denote "physical railroad" (infrastructure) while route=railway denote "the route of operation of trains over a (route=tracks relation)." This seems a subtle distinction and may not be needed (here), as we (in the USA) seem to be able to express a route=railway relation as meaning "the route of operation of trains over the physical railroad expressed by the members of THIS relation." Yes, route=tracks is used to specify routes in the VzG system in Germany and that may be its useful extent -- or not. Editors in the USA appear to be moving forward with our convention of conflating infrastructure (route=tracks) into a single relation of route=railway, even as we might discuss a change to route=tracks + route=railway. Improvement towards high quality usable data should guide us here.
I (Stevea) have asked Michael Reichert (an author of OpenRailwayMap), to discuss the USA's convention of conflating route=tracks and route=railway. It would be a large amount of work for the USA to restructure existing route=railway relations into both route=tracks and route=railway relations. While it is recognized that using both route=tracks and route=railway is useful for the way that Germany structures rail in OSM, it also appears that the distinction between these two is (largely? completely?) unnecessary for the way that the USA structures rail in OSM. This Discussion page intends to provide a forum for wider and further discussion of this topic.