Proposed features/Deprecate railway=preserved

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Deprecate railway=preserved
Status: Proposed (under way)
Proposed by: Kmpoppe
Tagging: railway=preserved
Applies to:
Definition: deprecated, use railway:preserved=yes instead

Drafted on: 2021-04-05
RFC start: 2021-04-05


Explicitly mark the tag railway=preserved as deprecated and encouraging the use of railway:preserved=yes by changing all associated wiki pages.


railway=preserved has existed since 2007 with a peak of around 11,000 usages.

The downside of using railway=preserved is, that the original information about what kind of railway this part of track is, gets lost - i.e. it would be impossible to tag a heritage narrow-gauge or funicular railway.

In 2014, the second OpenRailwayMap meeting agreed to a contributor's proposal to deprecate railway=preserved in favour of railway:preserved=yes, but the proposal process was never started.

The use in the community of railway=preserved has declined since the beginning of 2020, with railway:preserved=yes overtaking at the beginning of 2021 - This evolution can be seen in this graph:***/railway/preserved&***/railway:preserved/yes

Taghistory between railway=preserved and railway-preserved=yes.png


Deprecable use: - railway=preserved, even though this is a narrow-gauge railway.

Proposed new use: - railway:preserved=yes+railway=narrow_gauge


A major concern of some mappers is, that openstreetmap-carto currently doesn't render railway:preserved=yes correctly. There is an Issue at GitHub, and a Pull Request with a possible solution (rendering railway:preserved=yes in the same way as railway=preserved) addressing this problem, yet there is discussion as to solve this correctly - nevertheless, the issue is being addressed.


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