Proposing to deprecate railway=razed and railway=dismantled

Nobody is seriously proposing to deprecate railway=abandoned.

1 Like

Very good. I mentioned it because I saw it listed in the first post.

I think most mappers just want others to stop mapping railways in OSM that don’t exist anymore.


Reading this thread, I think possibly more than a few people conceptualize a razed railway as only ballast/earthworks remaining with everything else having been stripped away? We can map this situation using man:made = embankment, while also noting it was a railway by adding rail_ballast as an offical value for embankment:type.

man:made = embankment
embankment:type = rail_ballast

Someone could add the old:name to further wink at history.

After this I would deprecate railway = razed. Railway that has decayed beyond the point where there isn’t even ballast, I would advise be mapped in OHM.


Currently that is tagged as railway=abandoned.

1 Like

I feel like this is analogous to someone asking a mortician about a body and all they produce is a finger, saying ‘here it is’.

If all that is remains is the ballast, can we justify calling it a railway?
Maybe we could define railway = abandoned to exclude this most basic state, but encompass all other states of disuse. I appreciate your work in Mexico, by the way @Ferrocarriles_de_MĂ©xico

Moot point. We have highway=traffic_signals, yet traffic signals are not a highway.

1 Like

I just saw you added this part to your message. I do not like the “abandoned” part in railway=abandoned. It is misleading. To me “abandoned railway” gives the impression of a railway line with sleepers and rails present but overgrown vegetation, right-of-way encroachment or something like that. However the current meaning is already entrenched.

1 Like

If railway=abandoned has such an expansive meaning. What conceptual space is left for railway = razed and railway = dismantled? Do you find these tags useful in any way?

If only a few remains of the wall are left, can we justify calling it a building?
Some mappers only map the few walls. Others map it as building=ruins. Is one of the two wrong?

1 Like

Their is less tolerance of line features being treated the same way, right? They are much more conspicuous and railway = razed can be mapped as an extremely long line feature, possibly for many hundreds of kilometers.

Perhaps this thread would be of interest – another case where the tag value is not to be taken literally:

1 Like
  • I do not find railway=dismantled useful since (AFAIK) ORM does not support it and its semantics are not defined.
  • I find railway=razed useful when I map a railway line that is mostly just disused (railway=disused) but with a short section entirely removed and overbuilt (railway=razed). I do not map lines that would be railway=razed in most of their length.

Out of curiosity, how long of a gap would it need to be before you would refrain from mapping a razed section? I wonder if folks are coming to this discussion from different perspectives because they’ve personally encountered gaps that are longer or shorter, or more or less prominent, than others have. I could see similar difficulty with other inferred features like footway=link (proposed and gaining in popularity).


In my experience, when people build buildings (as opposed to streets) over a former railway line it is just a few houses, less than 50 m.

If you want a definite threshold, then my choice is at most 1 km can be railway=razed. Longer than that, I would not map it at all. Also as said above, if the part that is razed is longer than the part that is not, I would not map it either.

1 Like

And the alternative is then to map the railway embankment as a double line? A man_made=embankment on the right and a man_made=embankment on the left in the opposite direction?

I was envisioning gaps extending many kilometers.

I might do that, or instead opt to use the attribute tag embankment:side = both, depending on how wide the ballast foundation is.

I’m not at all attached to my hypothetical solution, but I think it may conform better to the ‘on the ground’ rule provided the only thing remaining of a railway is artificially placed dirt?

I have no objection to railway = razed if we confine its usage to this small scope. This might be part of a possible solution? Anyone think the same?

This sort of thing serves only to confuse new mappers and cause more conflicts between editors with unclear benefits to anyone involved (other than preserving network connectivity of historical routes.) When I see rail ways which are completely built over I would remove that part.


@citrula Did you read this part of the thread:



Yes, that is what I’m responding to. If the railway is completely built over by a building then it shouldn’t be on the map. This is the same standard we hold all other physical objects to.