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Available languages — Key:usage
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Public-images-osm logo.svg usage
Osm element key.svg
Describes the primary usage of this railway or pipepile
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations
Status: in use

With railways

The key usage=* is used to identify the primary usage of a railway track. This is in principle independent of the kind of railway. It is often used with railway=rail and railway=narrow_gauge.

The distinction between main and branch line in general should be straightforward, but may be vague in certain circumstances; for example, if the branch line is very long. Some generic criteria are described in the table, below, but one should consider each case individually. Often, branch lines are described as such in the official name, however, sometimes rail is named "XYZ Main Line" even though it is more appropriately tagged usage=branch.

The distinction between the other types of usage should be more obvious.

Inside a railway station area, use usage=* only for the main tracks (not for siding, yard tracks etc.). That also applies for crossover or overtaking tracks outside of the railway stations. Always use usage=* only on the main tracks (apart from the exception mentioned above).



Key Value Element Comment Rendering Photo
usage main Mf way.png Main line, presumably heavy traffic, often double tracked and/or electrified, high speed.

Example: Rail lines left and right of the Rhine river

usage branch Mf way.png Branch line, less traffic and lower speed than main line, often single tracked and/or not electrified, may be constructed to lower specifications than the main line. May connect a place to a mainline, typically a few dozen miles in length.
usage industrial Mf way.png Tracks in private use that serve only goods transport inside larger ports, industrial complexes or mining areas, also for connection to the public network.

Examples: Large surface mining areas, large industrial complex like iron or chemical industry, large harbours.

usage military Mf way.png Tracks for military use, mainly on military ground or connections to the public railroad network.
usage test Mf way.png Tracks used for testing of new vehicles.
usage tourism Mf way.png Tracks for touristic use or with historic or "heritage" trains, often used on weekends and holidays, most preserved railways.

Examples: Mount Washington Cog Railway, Cass Scenic Railroad, Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, Roaring Camp Steam Train

With pipelines