|The following section contains a draft for a new "Useful Combination" section for the page OpenRailwayMap/Tagging in North America. This paragraph provides a quick reference for required, recommended, and optional tags that are common in NA, and is meant to match similar sections on other pages in organization and style. It has already been incorporated into the real wiki.|
|This is a new section, and corrections, additions, and feedback are requested and encouraged.|
The following summarizes the most common tags used on railway ways in North America, and is meant to serve as a quick reference for tagging in the region.
- I'd like to see this focus on primary differences between existing wiki which likely already documents many of the elements here, perhaps with links (to Railways, to OpenRailwayMap/Tagging...) there are quite a few wiki documenting rail scattered about, and we should defer to "the authoritative source" where it is exactly that, avoiding repetition where it isn't necessary and only highlighting differences in NA. Stevea (talk) 21:19, 16 June 2020 (UTC)
- railway=* - avoid railway=yes, which is only used for ways about which nearly nothing is known.
- usage=* or service=* - one (but never both on usage=main or usage=branch) of these will apply to every track way in North America.
- operator=* - in North America, unlike general OpenRailwayMap tagging, this is the operator of the trains, not the infrastructure, see below.
- reporting_marks=* - to match operator=* in order and quantity.
- name=* - only for tracks with usage=* (part of a route). We are currently using the Subdivision name, see the US FRA GIS for a good reference in the US.
- gauge=* - only required with railway=narrow_gauge, or where the gauge is not the standard 1435mm (4'-8.5"). (Recommended for standard gauge.)
- electrified=* - only required for electrified routes. (Recommended for non-electrified routes.) Avoid electrified=yes and provide a more specific means of electrification if possible.
- bridge=* with layer=* for tracks on bridges. Include bridge:name=* if known.
- tunnel=* with layer=* for tracks in tunnels. Include tunnel:name=* if known.
- REMOVE tiger:reviewed=no in the US if it is present, once you have finished correcting the way. Please do not replace it with an alternate value.
- description=* - should hold the actual name of the track (according to the railroad) if known. Every piece of track on a railroad will have a name, but this is often unknown without access to railroad documentation, such as employee timetables, or other inside knowledge. Sometimes, the name will be posted on publicly visible signs, such as track numbers at passenger stations. If you don't know the actual railroad name, please don't guess! It's better to leave untagged. Guidance follows to help distinguish what is likely to be a proper name:
- For usage=main and usage=branch tracks, this will normally follow the pattern Main, Main (1/2/3/4/etc), (EB/WB/NB/SB) Main, where the parentheses indicate alternates and should not themselves be included in the tag.
- usage=industrial tracks leading to large industries, e.g. XYZ Corporation, will frequently have a name like "XYZ Lead" or "XYZ Branch". Similarly, groups of industries, e.g. ABC Industrial Park, may be served by the "ABC Lead" or "ABC Branch".
- service=siding tracks will usually be named something obvious like "Providence Forge Siding" for the passing track in Providence Forge, VA, USA.
- service=yard tracks will have names like "Yard Lead", "West Lead" or "West Ladder" for the lead and ladder tracks, Track (1/2/3/etc) for the yard tracks themselves, and "Shop Track", "Fuel Track", "RIP Track", etc. for various service tracks.
- service=spur tracks have names like "XYZ Lead" for the track to an industry (if it's not quite big enough to tag usage=industrial per the guidelines), or XYZ (1/2/etc) for the actual spurs at the industry where cars are spotted for loading and unloading. Not all industries will have a "Lead" track, especially if all spurs branch almost directly off the through track serving the area, such as the mainline.
- service=crossover tracks are named after the operating site. For instance, a crossover at Lee Hall will be named "Lee Hall Crossover", and one at a control point named for its milepost like CA 31.9 will be "CA 31.9 Crossover". This will get more complicated for routes with more than two main tracks.
- railway:track_ref=* for the track number, identifying parallel tracks within a line, station, or yard. For instance, "Main Track 2" should have railway:track_ref=2, "Yard Track 57B" should have railway:track_ref=57B, etc.
- gauge=1435 for standard gauge tracks.
- electrified=no for non-electrified tracks.
- voltage=* and frequency=* for electrified tracks, if known.
- embedded=* where appropriate. We are not presently tagging this just for level crossings, as it is more useful when used to represent street running and tracks in large, paved areas. For example, nearly all the tracks at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, VA are embedded in vast paved areas, and are tagged accordingly. Do not confuse this tag with embedded_rails=*, which is a tag for highway ways that have rails embedded in them. These tags are opposite sides of a coin - when mapping a street with street running track, the street and track are mapped as separate ways, but the track gets embedded=* and the street gets embedded_rails=*.
Optional: These keys and tags are in use in North America where appropriate, especially to help designate special features.
- railway:preserved=yes for heritage railways. (<-- Can we check that link please?) May or may not be combined with usage=tourism. railway=preserved is deprecated, and should not be used.
- railway:track_class=* (found here) or maxspeed=*, if known. This will normally require access to railway company information, but is sometimes publicly visible on posted signs. Values include Exempt and 1 (very slow), 2 (slow), up to 9 (highest), there is only Class 8 track as experimental in USA on NE Corridor. Much usage=main track is Class 4 (79 MPH).
- railway:traffic_mode=* is not in widespread use in North America, but is definitely in use on some routes and appropriate.
- workrules=*, see OpenRailwayMap/Work Rules in North America. This tag has been developed for North America, but is only tagged on 6 ways as of 2020-06-07.
- railway=railway_crossing where two track ways cross (a.k.a. a "diamond" in North America).
- railway=level_crossing where a track crosses a roadway at grade. ref:fra_crossing=* is recommended, see US FRA GIS and look for field FRAARCID for the crossing. All other associated tags with additional details of the crossing are optional.
- railway=owner_change wherever the primary operator changes. Please do not use this to indicate where trackage rights start or stop, only a change in primary operators with different ownership!
- railway=station or railway=halt for all passenger stations, with name=*. Tag a node on the #1 main track near the center of the station, not the way itself. See here for associated tags.
- railway=yard with name=* for all named yards. Tag a node on the #1 main track near the center of the yard. See here for associated tags. The name should be the rail yard name as used in railway documentation.
- railway=switch at turnouts. Related tags are optional.
- railway=junctions with name=* for all junctions between two lines, only if you know the proper railway name for the junction. Tag a node on the #1 main track of the dominant route, near the center of the junction. For a diamond, choose the actual crossing node (or one crossing node where multiple tracks cross). For a branching point, tag at the turnout/switch. See here for associated tags. Tag operator=* according to the operator whose dispatcher controls use of the junction. The name should be the rail junction name as used in railway documentation (if the junction is between two railroad operators, they will often use a common name. If not, choose the name used by the operator who controls the junction). If you don't know the correct name, please leave the name untagged.
- railway=spur_junction with name=* for the control points at each end of a siding. Tag at the turnout/switch. See here for associated tags. Tag operator=* according to the operator whose dispatcher controls use of the junction. The name should be the control point name as used in railway documentation. If you don't know the correct name, please leave the name untagged.
- railway=crossover with name=*, only if you know the proper railway name for the individual crossover; else, please don't tag the node. Place tag on a node near the middle on the way of the crossover.
- railway=derail derailers, preferably with railway:derail=*.
- railway=buffer_stop where some sort of positive stop device is used at the end of a track. Nodes where tracks simply end, with no stop device provided, should not have this tag. Most commonly, but not always, found at the end node of a track way, but a stop with a (sometimes significant) length of railway=disused beyond it is not uncommon at all, and is worth mapping where found.
- railway=milestone at milepost locations, if you have these data and they are accurate. Tag standalone milepost locations with this key|value at a node on the main way plus ref=* with the value.
- barrier=gate where tracks (usually industrial lines or spurs) cross through gates into fenced areas. This is extremely common at the rail entrances to industrial facilities, and often at the entrance to military installations. Only use this where there is a physical gate, not where there is an opening, even if the opening is guarded.
Many operating site facilities at OpenRailwayMap/Tagging are already well developed for North American use as described.
|The following section contains a draft for a new section for the page OpenRailwayMap/Tagging in North America to clarify the difference between the usage=* and service=* keys for newer editors.|
Usage vs. Service - What is a route?
|This is a new section, and corrections, additions, and feedback are requested and encouraged.|
All railway ways (sections of track) in OpenRailwayMap are tagged with either the usage=* or service=* key (and in some specific cases, both). OpenRailwayMap/Tagging gives a very brief explanation of the difference, but a definition taken straight from the US FRA helps make it clearer:
- Tracks and Types of Tracks.
- Main Track. A track, other than an auxiliary track, extending through yards or between stations, upon which trains are operated by timetable or train order or both, or the use of which is governed by a signal system.
- Industry Track. A switching track, or series of tracks, serving the needs of a commercial industry other than a railroad.
- Siding. A track auxiliary to the main track (nearly always directly parallel) used for meeting or passing trains.
- Yard Track. A system of tracks within defined limits used for the making up or breaking up of trains, for the storage of cars, and for other purposes over which movements not authorized by timetable or by train order may be made, subject to prescribed signal, rules, or other special instructions. Sidings and industry tracks are not included, nor is main line within yard limits.
Within OpenRailwayMap tagging, this definition leads to two different key families. Everything the FRA describe as a main track, we tag with the usage=* key. We are breaking this key down into detailed levels of route importance with different tags in the Route Importance section, because we need to separate main lines from each other by importance to control which appear at wider levels of map zoom. However, they are all main tracks, in that they "go somewhere," are likely to have more than one train sharing them, and are all controlled in some way (ultimately by a dispatcher in most cases). In addition, we also apply the name=* key and other details to all main tracks, and collect the main tracks of each full route into a route relation.
The other three definitions describe three of our four tag values under the service=* key. Their "industry track" is tagged in OpenRailwayMap as a service=spur. Sidings and yard tracks share the same name between the FRA and OpenRailwayMap. The fourth, unmentioned service track tag is service=crossover, which is a short length of track used to cross between parallel main tracks.
Tags usage=industrial and usage=military are the exception where we can see both usage=* and service=* together, in accordance with OpenRailwayMap/Tagging. Main tracks in a military or industrial railroad operation must still be tagged with the appropriate usage=*, but non-main service=* tracks may optionally be tagged with the appropriate usage=* tag as well as their service=* tag. Using this exception on industrial service tracks causes the map renderer to render these dual-tagged service tracks in the industrial color, rather than in the plain black of non-industrial (ordinary) service tracks; the service tracks will still retain their narrow line width, while the industrial main tracks will be visually separated from the service tracks by a wider line width. Because this tag combination is essentially a rendering decision, the mapper should choose a consistent combination throughout the industrial or military facility being mapped (either all with usage, or only main tracks with usage).
|The following section contains a draft for a new "Route Importance" section for the page OpenRailwayMap/Tagging in North America. It has already been incorporated into the real wiki.|
This section covers application of the usage=* to railroad routes in North America, and should apply equally well to Canada, Mexico, and the United States. As the tag description on OpenRailwayMap/Tagging aligns a bit better with European railway organization and classification, it does not always capture the nuances of usage classification in North America; this page should be used as the primary reference for this tag on North American routes.
- The usage=* tag is exclusively for ways that are part of routes, meaning they connect to something or somewhere. This may mean a through route, which connects to other routes at both ends, or a dead end route, which connects to another route at one end, and a yard or collection of spurs at the other end or along the way. This may apply even to completely isolated railroads and larger industrial railroads; an isolated railroad may, for instance, connect from a set of spurs at a mine, to a yard at a port, or a now-isolated tourist railroad may connect from its main yard to a scenic or other spot at the end of the line. If the track isn't a route as described here, it should be tagged with service=* instead.
- AAR railroad class in the US is not a reliable indicator of route importance, but it can sometimes help start looking in the right direction. Please don't focus on the nature of the operator, but rather on the other characteristics given below.
- Route name is not at all a reliable indicator of route importance. An independent industrial line operator may well have a main route they refer to as their "Main Line," but the route would still be tagged usage=industrial based on its use, extent, or other more important features.
- Often looking at the route on maps alone will be enough to determine which tag to apply. However, sometimes a little more knowledge of the actual railroad will be required for determination. Nearly every active railroad in North America has a reasonably current Wikipedia page, and in most cases that page will provide enough further information to make the determination.
- We name routes in ORM according to the railroad's subdivision, but it's not true that a route will automatically have the same usage=* value all the way through the subdivision. This is a product of ORM's current tagging scheme in North America not having a good relation to how the railroads themselves actually use and categorize their routes. A good example would be a dead-end usage=branch subdivision which effectively ends in a yard at the terminus, with a mile long usage=industrial lead into an industrial complex. These two parts of the route are part of the same subdivision according to the railroad, and the primary track of the branch may continue clearly straight through the yard and into the industrial lead; the mere fact of the shared name and direct continuation does not mean we should force an inappropriate tag onto the industrial lead.
None of the below guidelines are hard rules; judgement will still be required. However, following the guidelines is likely to result in correct tagging in 95% or more of example instances.
|Extensive examples have been prepared for use with these guidelines. Please see Route Importance Examples, and use the examples to help interpret the guidance presented here.|
|usage=test||Tracks used for testing of new rail vehicles, wheels, track, technologies|
|usage=scientific||Tracks at large observatories (like Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array) or spaceports (Kennedy Space Center)|
To clarify term "predominant traffic" as used in the characteristics table, if you stand at a point on the route and watch the traffic, the income-generating trains that pass that point will generally fall clearly in one of three categories:
- Local trains (or just "locals" in most of North America), which travel either from end yard to end yard, or round trip from a single yard, to serve every customer on their route with a shipment.
- Through trains pass long distances along the line, stopping only to set out and pick up larger blocks of cars gathered at yards by locals. Very rarely, they may stop to serve an individual, very isolated industry along the line, far from the nearest yard.
- Unit trains are a common special subcategory of through trains. Unit trains serve a single, large industry, big enough to put out entire trainloads of cargo at once. They may originate along the line, but are best considered through traffic for purposes of route classification.
To determine the predominant traffic on the section of track being considered, consider the typical traffic on that track over several normal days, as if you were standing there counting trains. If the majority of the trains you would expect to see could be described as "locals" above, you would consider the traffic "locally generated" for use in the table. If the majority of trains fit the description of "through trains," including unit trains bound for somewhere off the current route, the predominant traffic is through traffic.
Usage Tag to designate Freight Only Lines
With increasing frequency, the tag usage=industrial has been used used to denote lines which are primarily or exclusively freight, especially on spurs to industrial areas that are not mines or lumberyards. These may serve factories or clusters of industrial activity along a rail spur in (often urban) industrial-zoned areas. This doesn't directly contradict with ORM tagging's suggestion that this tag be used on lines "that serve only goods transport." However, if it is desired to tag track infrastructure as exclusively freight, the tag railway:traffic_mode=freight is a better choice.