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Public-images-osm logo.svg railway = abandoned
Vysocany concrete rail ties former Northwestern railway.jpg
Former railway; the track has been removed but it's still visible that there used to be a railway. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: Railways
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations
Useful combination
See also
Status: de facto
Main article: Railway § Life-cycle

A tag to map former railways, where the rails have been removed but the route is still visible with ties/sleepers, signals or other railroad right of way signs or infrastructure. This tag is only to be used only for the right of way, for other structures like stations use a lifecycle prefix.

Most mappers follow a basic Good practice#Map what's on the ground principle, and therefore regard the mapping of non-existent railways as incorrect data placed in the OpenStreetMap database. On the wiki this is discussed at Talk:Railways#Abandoned railways where all evidence has been removed and multiple times on mailing lists, see for example [1]. Mapping railways for historical purposes is discouraged when there is no physical evidence of the railway currently existing. Historical railways that once existed should be mapped in OpenHistoricalMaps.

If the rails are still in place use railway=disused instead. Road crossing with rail are still disused.

If it is impossible to determine the former route of a railway from the ground or through aerial imagery you must not map it. If it is possible to identify the old right of way based on some remnants, then you might try to map it, however this practice is disputed by some. See Demolished Railway. Expect anything mapped for historical purposes to be removed at a later date. See Open Historical Map for opportunities to map history.

You may indicate the type of the abandoned railway with a combination such as railway=abandoned + abandoned:railway=rail/light_rail/subway/tram

See also