User:Probiscus12/Lifecycle Status Prefix on Railways Proposal Idea

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There seems to have been quite a bit of discussion about mapping various sorts of railways which are no longer actively used and which have either fallen into some sort of disrepair or have been removed completely and/or replaced by entirely different features.

This proposal attempts to resolve that discussion by applying and defining (dictating basically) the 'status' tag prefix in terms of railways. The status prefix is defined at Key:disused and Comparison_of_life_cycle_concepts#.3Cstatus.3E:.3Ckey.3E_.3D_.3Cvalue.3E. Ie, instead of railway=abandoned, we might have one of historic:railway=rail or abandoned:railway=light_rail.

This proposal does not attempt to define a mapping from previous railway values of disused and abandoned as there does not seem to ever have been a consensus on their usage.


  • The type of the railway is preserved. The current usage of railway=abandoned/disused/etc generally does not provide any information as to whether the railway is/was a heavy rail, tram or miniature railway even though those are vastly different types of railways
  • Matches the tagging documented on the wiki for disused features

Proposed Tags

This table is meant as a guide as to how to choose a value. If a certain railway feature does not match all of the criteria in a line, then it should be demoted until it does.


  • Active railway - A railway which supports service where somebody who lives next to the tracks could describe the current service and/or frequency.
  • Functional State - A state of repair which all active railways are in. Some railways which are not currently active may also be in a functional state if the only reasons for those railways being inactive have nothing to do with the condition of the physical infrastructure.
  • Repurposed/reclaimed - The land and right of way which at one point supported a railway now primarily support a different, non-railway use. For example, the railway passes through what are now open/plowed fields of a farm, building(s) have been built where the railway once was, trees have grown and forests developed along significant sections of the right of way or perhaps there is now a permanent water feature where the railway once was.
  • minor repair - The railway is not in a functional state, but all of the most important elements of the railway are intact. The railway could be restored to a functional state by clearing brush, replacing or repairing level crossing equipment and/or by replacing some sections of track. Majority of track would not need to be replaced.
  • major repair - To return the railway to a functional state, Fundamental elements of the railway would need to be re-engineered and/or replaced along a majority of the track. Significant portions, if not the majority of track would need to be replaced.
Tag Functional State? Requires ONLY minor repair to return to functional state Requires major repair to return to functional state Has the right of way been repurposed/reclaimed? Is feature useful for navigation? (ie "take a left just after the train tracks") Notes
railway Yes No No No Yes
disused:railway No Yes No No Yes
abandoned:railway No No Yes No Yes
historic:railway No No Yes Yes No