Abandoned railway that is now a foot way

Is there a convention for tagging a disused railway that is now a foot way? Whilst running through Malabar Headland National Park, one of the routes went a long this abandoned railway track.

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You could do it like this one

Where the ‘ref’ used to be the number of the tracks

For railway to path conversions railway=abandoned is used, sometimes also abandoned:railway=rail. because then you can better specify the former railway, abandoned:railway=narrow_gauge etc.


I would strongly suggest to add note or some sort of tag to indicate what remains.

Sadly, some people incorrectly map railways that disappeared without leaving any sort of trace at all - and here we see either tracks or some marks left by tracks in concrete (not clearly visible on photo)

railway=abandoned abandoned=narrow_gauge also works


Shouldn’t this sort of change be mapped as “was”?

Wiki: “abandoned:=. Still visible but fallen into serious disrepair and which could only be put back into operation with considerable effort”.
Is it realistic the path will be changed to a railway again? If not, abandoned is not the correct tag.


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note that it is not “is expected to be”


In California/Railroads - OpenStreetMap Wiki , I believe I was the author of the following text, which has not been disputed, and indeed has been “taken up” as a convention in mapping footways and bikeways on abandoned railway right-of-way (in California and the USA) for many years in OSM:

A railtrail uses a (usually former, abandonded) railroad right-of-way (ROW) for equestrian, bicycle or hiking paths, preserving the ROW for possible future re-use as a railway while providing a useful service in the meantime. These are often tagged highway=cycleway or highway=footway depending on whether they prefer or allow bicycle or pedestrian traffic. It is OK to tag both railway=abandoned and highway=cycleway if it is the case that an abandoned railway became a railtrail (for bicycle use, for example). Where a (multi-use) pathway is designated for pedestrians but also allows bicycles, tag highway=footway and bicycle=yes. Sometimes (e.g. MBSST) a railtrail immediately parallels active or semi-active rail along its ROW.

So, while the photograph by the OP doesn’t look like a formal rail trail (of the sort we have around here, which are government sponsored, often patrolled, have their trash cans emptied regularly…), I’d say the sorts of tags noted in the above wiki pull-quote about “for pedestrians” could work just fine (leave out bicycle=yes if they aren’t allowed, but you might put that tag in if they show up on that trail / path / foot way).

I hope this helps.

It’s not realistic, but arguably the hardest part of building a railway is acquiring the right of way, aka the ground in the alignment necessary. So a railway which has been turned into a path is many times more easy to reopen than building a railway in a heavily developed area. Also, with a railway to path conversion the function of the right of way is preserved. (transportation)

The way that we tag things in OSM is broadly “the same way that other people have tagged the same thing in the past”. By that measure, your suggestion isn’t correct.


So if my objection is not valid, the wiki should be updated because it’s incorrect.

where wiki is incorrect?

If it is about

then it does not require such restoration to be plausibly happening.