Railways

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logo Feature: Railways
One example for Feature: Railways
Description
All forms of transport using metal rails, including mainline services, subways, heritage lines and trams
Tags

railway=rail
railway=subway
railway=station

There is considerable information about railways, including mainline services, subways, heritage lines and trams in OpenStreetMap, together with details of railway stations, sidings and freight terminals.

An extended railway tagging scheme is being developed within the OpenRailwayMap.

Types of railway line

Railway lines should be tagged based on the type of operation. Where tracks are shared between multiple types of service, the more major service should be used (generally the longer distance or heavier line).

Lines are generally assumed to be primarily for use by passenger unless tagged as usage=freight for freight only lines, usage=military for lines only used by the military, and usage=tourism for lines used only as a tourist attraction.

The electrified=* key, together with frequency=* and voltage=* can be used to specify details of how the track is powered. Use electrified=no if the line is not electrified, electrified=contact_line if it is powered from an overhead wire and electrified=rail if it is powered from a '3rd (or 4th) rail'. For short sections of track used for storage of trains add a service=siding, for tracks within a place used for maintenance of trains use service=yard and for short spur lines leading to an industrial or military facility use service=spur. Add a node with railway=level_crossing for points where a road crosses a railway line at-grade and railway=crossing for a point where pedestrians may cross. The railway=turntable tag is used for turntables. The gauge can be specified using gauge=* which should contain the nominal width of the track in millimeters (1435 for standard gauge). Buffers can be marked with using railway=buffer_stop on a node.

When modeling multi-track parallel railway lines in close proximity they can either be modeled as a single way with tracks=*, or as a number of parallel ways. If individual tracks have different tagging requirements (max-speed, electrification, gauge, etc.) then the tracks should be modelled appropriately. The tracks=* tag should be used to record the number of tracks with a default value of 1 being assumed where this is not supplied.

Where a line goes over a bridge the relevant section should be tagged with either bridge=yes for shorter bridges or bridge=viaduct for long bridges and layer=1 or other value as appropriate. Where a track goes through a tunnel it should be tagged with tunnel=yes often at layer=-1. Where the tracks are on ground raised for the purpose use embankment=yes and when in a cutting use cutting=yes. If necessary split the way at the point where the bridge or cutting or whatever starts and ends. Track using embankments and cutting does not normally need a layer tag.

Features (railway lines, footways,..) in railway stations that are tied to particular levels can be tagged with level=* instead of layer=*.

Where a line has a recognised name this can be included in name=*.

Tag Description
Funicular railway=funicular - Cable driven inclined railways.
Light rail railway=light_rail - A higher-standard tram system, normally in its own right-of-way.
Miniature railway=miniature - Smaller trains, normally operated as a tourism=attraction
Monorail railway=monorail - A railway with only a single rail, often inner city and above street level. Also used for monorail-like automated people-mover systems like Miami's Metromover.
Narrow-gauge railway=narrow_gauge - Narrow-gauge passenger or freight trains, often tourist/scenic routes. In some regions narrow gauge railways are used for full sized passenger or freight trains service. See the Rhätische Bahn (RhB) and Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (MGB) in Switzerland as examples for such full featered narrow gauge railways. Use gauge=* to specify how small narrow is for this railway.
Preserved railway=preserved - A railway running historic trains, usually a tourist attraction.
Mainline railway=rail - Full sized passenger or freight trains in the standard gauge for the country or state.
Subway railway=subway - A city passenger rail service running mostly grade separated (see Wikipedia:rapid transit).
Tram railway=tram - City based rail systems with one/two carriage vehicles, often share roads with cars.

Routes

Railway ways are commonly members of two types of relations:

  1. railway route - a sequence of interconnected railway ways, often between two major junctions, sometimes including minor branches.
  2. train route - a route of a train in regular service, including railway ways/routes traveled and stations served.

Stations and stops

Main article: Railway stations Please see the main article about station tagging as it is beyond the scope of this guide.

Life-cycle

Generally, features in OpenStreetMap may be in a number of stages of operation

  • Proposed - For features that have a strong likelihood of being constructed. For a proposed railway line tag it with railway=proposed and also proposed=* where * is the type of railway being proposed (rail, subway,light-rail etc). An aspiration on the part of an authority or from an advocacy group which is not funded or approved should not be added.
  • Construction - features that are in the process of being constructed with actual work on the ground. For a railway line under construction tag it with railway=construction and also construction=* where * is the type of railway being constructed (rail, subway,light-rail etc). Often this will be a feature that has previously been 'proposed'.
  • Operation - the normal situation for most features. No additional tagging needed and the construction tags should be removed. Consider adding a start_date=* tag.
  • Preserved - a former mainline railway which is now operated as a tourist attraction. Use railway=preserved.
  • Disused - the feature is still in working order, or could be brought back to working order easily. Use railway=disused.
  • Abandoned - The track has been removed and the line may have been reused or left to decay but is still clearly visible, either from the replacement infrastructure, or purely from a line of trees around an original cutting or embankment. Use railway=abandoned. Where it has been reused as a cycle path then add highway=cycleway. Consider adding a end_date=* tag or more specifically a railway:end_date=* tag.
  • Obliterated (or dismantled/razed) - Some people use railway=dismantled or railway=razed where all evidence of the line has been removed, others prefer such lines not to be included at all. This is used where the alignment has been replaced by new buildings or by roads which don't refer to the old alignment. Alternatively where the alignment now crosses farmland.

Proposals

This section provides details of experimental tagging methods that have not yet been adopted and may not be supported by all rendering or tools.

Tag life-cycle

Some users are adding the prefix of 'proposed:', 'construction:', 'disused:' and 'abandoned:' to tags to indicate changes to the tag values over time.

Examples:

  • An un-electrified line which it is being converted into an electrified line at 25KV at 50Hz using an overhead line might would be tagged with
  • A freight only line that is likely to be converted to passenger operation:
  • A former railway which was abandoned in 1965 and opened as a path in 2003:
  • railway=abandoned
  • historic:railway=narrow_gauge
  • historic:gauge=600
  • historic:start_date=1845
  • historic:end_date=1965
  • old_name=Blar railway
  • highway=footway
  • name=The old railway path
  • start_date=2003
etc

Rendering

OpenRailwayMap

OpenRailwayMap is a dedicated map for railways. Released in mid 2013, the project is already available in numerous languages.

Mapnik

Besides the basic railway=rail line style, Mapnik renders railway=construction and railway=disused with a dotted line. railway=spur, railway=rail+service=siding, railway=rail+service=spur, and railway=rail+service=yard in a thinner form of the normal railway=rail line style. railway=abandoned is no longer rendered on the main map discussion

ITO Map

ITO Map has a selection of layers which display many of the more common railway=* tags. railway=rail is shown in all layers. The Former Railways layer focuses on railway=dismantled, railway=disused, railway=preserved and railway=abandoned. The Railway tracks layer exists to show tracks=*, including tracks=1 in the case of showing two parallel, separately mapped, tracks. The Railways layer focuses on the types of rail that are shown, such as railway=light_rail and the relevant service=* tags. A Metro layer also exists for metro systems. The Railway electrification layer shows the electrical status of the rail tracks, highlighting the use of the tags: electrified=no, electrified=contact_line, electrified=rail, voltage=*, and frequency=*. Whilst the Railway electrification missing layer highlights places where there is information missing with regard to the electrification of the railways.

Railway systems by country

Europe

North America

South America

Asia