Kepler map of railways missing line names


My first time on this forum! I was playing with some mapping data with OSM. I noticed that a large number of rail segments in the UK and Ireland are missing line names. This seems somewhat inconsistent and sometimes major lines are not identified, or are patchy.

I have attached an interactive map showing where the lines are named (green) on top of lines that are unnamed (red) in case anyone is interested in exploring this. I’m starting to add names now but it will take a long time on my own.

Would be curious to hear people’s thoughts on the inconsistency of lines with names, and how I might name these faster?

Hello and welcome to the forum*!

I think you might need to have a look at your selection criteria for some of these. Included in the “red” list near me is , which is on a military firing range and appears to be used for moving things things around there. Included in the “green” list is a series of ways near , which do have names, because they are now roads.

Were you intending to show past present and potentially future rail all at once? Much of what’s red isn’t current rail (including now cancelled/postponed sections of High Speed 2, and historic pre-Beeching and mineral railways). Much of those may not have a name in OSM because OSM isn’t really about things that don’t exist any more (OpenHistoricalMap does that), it’s about what is here now.

One other thing to think about - what do you mean by “has a name”? Many individual pieces of railway line will be part of many different railway relations - those are what I’d expect to have names if an individual piece of line doesn’t.

Best Regards,

*in case you’re wondering why it’s a bit quiet here it’s because (as says) most mappers in the UK don’t use it, so your message won’t be seen by as many people as it otherwise might.

Thanks for your reply!

Indeed, this is all rail, so some of these are not important rail infrastructure, or are now defunct rail stretches. I was more referring to some of the significant lines such as between Salisbury and Yeovil, which I believe should be labelled as the ‘Basingstoke and Exeter Line’.

So you have answered my question somewhat, as perhaps manually adding the lines is less work than I anticipated, as there are only a few main-lines missing.

Thanks again,

The Basingstoke to Exeter line is indeed mapped as a relation, which would be pretty much how I would regard names should be added to the lines

On a general note, be aware that the “name=” tag should be used sparingly. Info like “Line 27” should be given as “ref=27”, whereas “side track to the loc shed” or such should go as “description=”

In Ireland (north and south - these railways often have more in common with each other than railways within the UK), it hasn’t been a priority. Someone has been doing work on naming relations - though this seems to be more train routes than railway line names.

Generally lines in Ireland are named A-B Line or C Branch, there are no formal names.

The notion of a name for railways in Britain is fairly contentious anyway. For example, Wikipedia long insisted there was a route called the “CrossCountry Route” despite a complete lack of evidence. (The page is now “CrossCountry NE–SW route” which is less nonsensical.)

Railways officially have an Engineer’s Line Reference. On our local line, for example, this is OWW. The route is informally known as the “Cotswold Line”; it’s sometimes marketed as “The Cotswolds & Malverns Line”; some local authorities call it the “North Cotswold Line”; and so on. But none of those are official; the official way of referring to it is the ELR.