I wanted to download an area larger that allowed so that I can extract a rail line in it’s entirety for conversion to a shape file, a few hundred miles or so. I am not a nooby to GIS or OSM just to help with any advice. Can I do a data dump and what is the process for that. I do not need to re upload or merge so that is not an issue. I would like to do less than an entire planet dump tho.
Planet extracts are available for most of the world, covering various areas. See http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Planet.osm#Downloading
eg Geofabrik have extracts for most European countries, plus some regions within countries.
So you could download one of these extracts, which contain all of the OSM data in that country. Then you could use Osmosis to get the railway line out of it.