Tag:railway=narrow_gauge

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Public-images-osm logo.svg railway = narrow_gauge
Narrow gauge.jpg
Description
Passenger or freight trains on narrower tracks than the standard gauge for the country or state. Edit or translate this description.
Rendering in OSM Carto
Rendering-railway light rail funicular narrow gauge-125.png
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
Status: deprecated

The tag railway=narrow_gauge has been used for for railways with narrower tracks than the standard gauge.

Depreciation

Just like there isn't a railway=broad or railway=standard, there should be no railway=narrow_gauge. Most people, except train aficionados, would not even notice if a railway line is say, 1435 or 1000 mm wide. The fact that it is narrow is simply a less important fact and should go into its own tag, gauge=*, instead.

Likewise, narrow gauge railways can carry most types of service, like mainline passenger, goods or industrial railways, so there is practically no difference of "importance" either.

The much better approach is to use railway=rail like on any other railway and to use gauge=* to specify the actual track width of rails. If you don't know the exact gauge, just use gauge=narrow.

Background

This tag appeared in the OSM database in 2008 and has had a linear growth since then. Yet there is still only 52000 occurrences as of 2022. Out of those, 83% is already tagged with some value of gauge=*

Note

For small railways in parks which are tourist attractions and clearly not part of any public transportation system, there is still some arguments for using railway=miniature.