OpenRailwayMap/Tagging in Netherlands

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Electrification, tracks per line and train protection in the Netherlands Source:

Welcome and thank you for your interest in Dutch railway tagging.

Below you will find a description of the Dutch railway system and a guide (tagging scheme) on how to cope with it while mapping. Currently (2015) this Tagging in the Netherlands page is being developed. (latest update: 31st of march) A lot of sections therefore are still empty. Whilst creating this page, priority will be given to sections that are (as the general ORM tagging page suggests) country-specific. For all sections that are still empty or unfinished. You are advised to visit the general ORM tagging page. Thank you for your understanding.

Tagging scheme

Like on the general ORM tagging page, this chapter is divided in the several parts that together form a system which we call 'the railway network'.




Railway lines and their respective tracks are referred to in various ways. First of all, every Dutch railway line has a certain 'geocode'. This is ProRail's referencing system that gives all Dutch areas containing railway tracks a certain number.


ATB is the Dutch national 'Automatic Train Influencing' (Automatische Trein Beïnvloeding) system and is hisorically the default signalling system in the Netherlands. Various versions of ATB are installed throughout the Netherlands. Some lines have, in addition to that, ERTMS installed aswell; these track sections act as ERTMS test sites. An overview of installed systems can be found at this [1] wikipedia page.

ATB signalling


ERTMS signalling (Dutch) Dutch ETCS signs and signals.png

336 ETCS cab signalling start

(add description here)

337 ETCS cab signalling start

(add description here)

Other signs

node Milestones

In the Netherlands, so called hectometre signs are used. They show the distance in kilometres, from a certain reference point. Reference points are located at the start of railway lines, or at intersections.

ProRail has a semi-public dataset, which on request is allowed to be published on OSM, with all hectometre signs in the Netherlands. These hectometre signs however, are placed at the centre of their railway line (a railway line can contain several tracks). Milestones should however, according to the international ORM tagging scheme, be mapped as nodes on their respective OSM railway tracks. Regarding this fact, imports from the ProRail hectometre sign dataset should never override correctly mapped hectometre signs that were already present.

Tagging the hectometre signs in the Netherlands is a bit simpler than described in the international tagging scheme. This because hectometre signs in the Netherlands only show their distance at a precision of 100 metres and aren't used for anything else than that specific purpose (note: negative values are never used in the Netherlands). For the example sign, the following tags would apply:




Dutch railway hectometre sign.png

node Pantograph directions

The Dutch signal book contains a set of signs that give instructions about the use of the pantograph. These are used at short sections without catenaries (possible at moveable bridges) and voltage transitions. Mapping such signs requires at least two tags. Firstly OSM needs to know that it is dealing with a railway signal and second you can show what type of signal it is. The type of signal is indicated by the codes under the sign overview. In the example, it is shown how such a code should be incorporated in the tagging. Please consult the general ORM tagging page for information on extra tags.

Example 306a: Turn off the traction current (main switch).



Dutch railway traction signs.png

CAUTION: this section is not yet complete! Pantograph signs may contain sub signs and left/right versions. Tagging these features is not yet described.

Speed limit signs

Dutch speed signals.png


I recommend to integrate this (standard) section into 'signalling', as interlocking is a part of the signalling system. (No substantively content yet)

Operating sites (dienstregelingspunten)

Dutch railway operators use, along stations, additional nodes in their timetables: so called dienstregelingspunten (timetable points). These consist of shunting yards, freight yards, bridges and intersections/joinings and help to achieve a better timetable. In English, the word 'Operating site' is quite comparable. Keep in mind though, that timetable points are more specific: fewer possible types of nodes and a specific purpose of the set.

Freight yard (goederen emplacement)

Example: railway=yard name=Maarn Goederen ref=Mrg

Shunting yard (opstelterrein)

Example: railway=yard name=Opstel boven A2 ref=A2O

Bridge (brug)

OpenRailwayMap has not yet defined bridges as a seperate type of operating sites. Therefore, timetable points at bridges will still be tagged as 'other operating sites'. Example: railway=site name=Amersfoort Aansluiting ref=Ama

Junction/joining (aansluiting)

Railway lines

No content yet

Operating site facilities

No content yet

Electrical facilities

This part of the page will be used to give a brief explanation of typical Dutch traction facilities and their tagging schemes.

Substations (onderstations)

These facilities are used to feed power from the grid into the catenary wires, allowing electrical traction. They convert the specific type of grid power to the voltage of the catenaries using a transformer. This holds 1.5 kV DC in most of the Netherlands and 25 kV AC for the High Speed Line South (HSL-zuid) and the Betuweroute (which is a dedicated freight line from Rotterdam Eurogate towards Germany). The 25 kV AC lines allow more spacing between the substations and from the Betuweroute it is known that autotransformers are used, which are a specific type of power transformers. ProRail therefore considers the substations at the Betuweroute as a seperate object category called 'AutoTransformerStation'. The 25 kV AC substations at HSL-zuid are managed by Siemens through Infraspeed. Infraspeed is the seperate infrastructure operator for HSL-zuid and is a government vehicle. Data from infraspeed has not yet been searched for, but will probably less public because of the higher safety levels at the high speed line.

(more information will be added soon)

Jumperings (schakelstations)

Jumperings are the backup system of the electrical traction system. Their name in Dutch (translated as 'switch sites') already makes a suggestion towards their function. In a normal situation, the jumpering disconnects the influence zones from the two neighbouring substations. When a substation cannot deliver power to the catenaries (for whatever reason) the switching station connects the electrical circuit of the disconnected substation to it's neighbour. In this way, all sections remain powered more or less. 'More or less' because the temporary increased substation interval causes bigger voltage drops between the substations, limiting trains in their traction.

(more information will be added soon)

Catenaries (bovenleiding)

Explaining catenary systems.png

The catenary wires are kept in place by a series of components, which are explained in the image.

1. Traction wire

2. Supporting cables

3. Catenary 'arm'

4. Catenary pole

5. Pole foundation

The Netherlands currently has 9 different standard catenary systems[2] defined. In addition, some places have a specially designed catenary systems. Those could be found at for example moveable bridges or areas that where the catenary system is part of some architectural design. Think of movable catenary rails at bridges and the circle-shaped portals at Den Bosch flyover[3].

(more information will be added soon)


Example situations

This section will be used to give advice on what you can expect at certain types of railways. Pictures will guide this guide.

Main rail network (hoofdrailnet)

Local rail network (nevenlijnen)

HSL-zuid (high speed line south)

Betuweroute (designated freight line)

Rotterdam habor tracks

Other freight lines

Available tools and data sources

Sporenplan has very nice schematic drawing of allmost all railway tracks in the Netherlands and is the Dutch counterpart of Their detailled drawings even contain signals, track references and switch types for example. has been contacted about usage of their drawings and provided permission to use the drawings for OSM mapping.

To get there, go to the sporenplan website, click 'Sporenplannen' in the top left, click on the Netherlands, click 'Actuele tekeningen - uitgebreid' and select the rail stretch which you'd like to view.

Rail plan example.PNG

Example piece of drawing - copyright:

ProRail data

At, free to use Dutch public transport data is stored. The ProRail section contains very interesting information. For example, a map all Dutch rails (literally every known track) and their speed limits, can be extracted and rendered in QGIS. This QGIS file is available on request, through user talk.

ProRail has a lot more information to offer, which can freely be used by OSM/ORM mappers. More applications will follow in this section.

A render of the ProRail speed limit database in QGIS, in accordance with the ORM speed layout

Dutch OpenRailwayMap JOSM preset

To make life easier for you, a Dutch ORM preset for JOSM is currently (april 2015) being developed. More information will follow soon, but have a look at the images below to get a glimpse at it's current status (it is working now and only needs to be expanded to cover more objects). It still needs finetuning of course, but in the future it will provide you with elegant drop down menu's and box checks in order to save you a lot of work. General tags like railway=signal are even done automatically.

Dutch ORM preset preview 1.png Dutch ORM preset preview 2.png


This section is currently used to provide you with some usefull links. A better discription will be added later.