User:YamaOfParadise/Tagging in North America

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The purpose of this page is to provide more specific tagging information for the United States, in addition to tabulating data that can be incorporated into OSM or used as a resource. It is broken down into two main sections. The section "National Overview and General Tagging" gives an introduction and overview to the U.S. portions of the North American railroad network, U.S. railroad standards, and how to tag them. The section "Individual Railroad Overview and Specific Tagging" gives specific railroad-by-railroad information; this includes a short overview of individual railroads, (OSM-relevant) operating/signal rules, and other tagging dependent on specific railroads. In addition, anomalies from railroad standards will be covered throughout this page.

National Overview and General Tagging


Historical Mapping and Tagging

The railroad had a significant impact on how and where cities and towns were settled and developed in North America, in addition to having a significant cultural impact. U.S. railroad mileage peaked at 254,000 miles in 1914; as of 2008, there are approximately 140,000 miles still extant, leaving approximately 114,000 miles of former railroad routes just in the U.S. The majority of these routes still leave lasting remnants on the ground, and leave long-standing geographic marks that can be seen by aerial/satellite imagery. There are also a large number of historical societies and organizations that are dedicated to the history of specific railroads, and many other local organizations that seek to preserve their locality's railroad history. As a result of all of this, there is a lot of historical mapping that can be done with railroads that still adheres to the OSM principal of mapping what exists.

Individual Railroad Overview and Specific Tagging

Conventional Rail

Class I Freight

CSX Transportation

Norfolk Southern Corporation

Holding Companies

Delaware Otsego Corporation

New York, Susquehanna, and Western Railway

Genesee Valley Transportation

Genesee and Wyoming

Gulf and Ohio Railways

Iowa Pacific Holdings

Patriot Rail Corporation

Pioneer Railcorp

R.J. Corman Railroad Group

Watco Transportation Services

Independent Regional Railroads

Florida East Coast Railroad

Providence and Worcester Railroad Company

Independent Shortlines and Tourist Railroads

Finger Lakes Railway

Passenger Rail

Historic Railroad Systems


Operating Rulebooks


The Northeast Operating Rules Advisory Committee is both a rulebook and the organization that defines said rulebook. NORAC was formed in 1985 to create a common rulebook for the Northeast; operations became more complicated after the creation of Amtrak and Conrail, and after state and municipal agencies took over commuter rail operation and ownership. As such, NORAC has more ways to represent the same signal rule than any other set of operating rules in the United States. NORAC is a speed signalling system, and has the most speed signalling than any other rulebook. Those using NORAC have to use the rulebook in its entirety, with no additional rules.

Members and Membership Status
Railroad Name Abbreviation Reporting Mark(s) Membership Status Passenger Freight Applicable Lines Notes
Adirondack Scenic Railroad fixme fixme Associate Member Heritage/Tourist fixme fixme
Amtrak AMTK Full Member Passenger No Shore Line (New Haven to Boston)
New York Terminal District
Springfield Line (New Haven to Springfield)
Philadelphia to Harrisburg Main Line (Keystone Corridor)
New York Terminal District
Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railway B&ML BML Associate Member Heritage/Tourist Rights to Belfast and Moosehead Railroad
Cape Cod Central Railroad
Cape May Seashore Lines
Claremont Concord Railroad
Columbia & Reading Railway
Finger Lakes Railway FLGK Associate Member Heritage/Tourist Common Carrier fixme
Grafton & Upton Railroad Company
Housatonic Railroad fixme HRRC
Maine Eastern Railroad MERR Associate Member Heritage/Tourist Common Carrier Rockland Branch
Lower Road
Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority MBTA MBTX Full Member Commuter No fixme
Metro-North Railroad fixme fixme Former Member
Naugatuck Railroad fixme NAUG Associate Member Heritage/Tourist fixme fixme
New Jersey Transit NJT NJTR
New York, Susquehanna, and Western Railway NYS&W NYSW Associate Member No Common Carrier All
Pan Am Railways PAR fixme fixme Member fixme Common Carrier fixme
Providence and Worcester Railroad P&W PW Full Member Excursion Common Carrier fixme
Southern Railroad of New Jersey
Seminole Gulf Railway
SMS Rail Service
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority SEPTA SEPA
Valley Railroad VRR VALE Associate Member Heritage/Tourist Rights to Valley Line
Wellsboro & Corning Railroad
West Chester Railroad
Winimac Southern Railroad
Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad
Defined Terms
Signal System Types


Name Passenger Freight Notes
Normal Speed The Maximum authorized speed.
Limited Speed Not exceeding 45 MPH. Not exceeding 40 MPH
Medium Speed Not exceeding 30 MPH
Slow Speed Not exceeding 15 MPH
Restricted Speed Not exceeding a speed that permits the movement to be stopped within 1/2 the range of vision short of any obstructions or signals requiring a stop.
Operating Rules
Signalling Rules

Keyvalues are defined US-NORAC:<rule>, where the value of <rule> is defined in the table below.


Federal Data



United States

State Data