|Describes the primary usage of railways, pipeline or waterways|
|Used on these elements|
|Status: in use|
|Tools for this tag|
The distinction between main and branch line in general should be straightforward, but may be vague in certain circumstances; for example, if the branch line is very long. Some generic criteria are described in the table, below, but one should consider each case individually. Often, branch lines are described as such in the official name, however, sometimes rail is named "XYZ Main Line" even though it is more appropriately tagged usage=branch.
The distinction between the other types of usage should be more obvious.
|A track is either tagged with usage=* or with service=*! This rule does not apply for industrial (harbours, mines, large industrial complexes) and military railway infrastructure. These tracks may be tagged with both usage=industrial/usage=military and service=*.|
Inside a railway station area, use usage=* only for the main tracks (not for siding, yard tracks etc.). That also applies for crossover or overtaking tracks outside of the railway stations. Always use usage=* only on the main tracks (apart from the exception mentioned above).
|usage||main|| Main line, presumably heavy traffic, often double tracked and/or electrified, high speed.
Example: Rail lines left and right of the Rhine river
|usage||branch||Branch line, less traffic and lower speed than main line, often single tracked and/or not electrified, may be constructed to lower specifications than the main line. May connect a place to a mainline, typically a few dozen miles in length.|
|usage||industrial|| Tracks in private use that serve only goods transport inside larger ports, industrial complexes or mining areas, also for connection to the public network.
Examples: Large surface mining areas, large industrial complex like iron or chemical industry, large harbours.
|usage||military||Tracks for military use, mainly on military ground or connections to the public railroad network.|
|usage||test||Tracks used for testing of new vehicles.|
|usage||tourism|| Tracks for touristic use or with historic or "heritage" trains, often used on weekends and holidays, most preserved railways.
Examples: Mount Washington Cog Railway, Cass Scenic Railroad, Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, Roaring Camp Steam Train