and he is copying them to a HISTORICAL WEBISTE to PRESERVE these lines.
Since these lines do not exist and many stretches there is no evidence from satellite imagery. (a crop is growing right acrosss the rail-line, or the rail-line is covered by a freeway, shouldn’t they be DELETED?
If non-existent railways were like any other object in OSM, they would be removed when the physical object was destroyed. However, for many years, rail-fans have been relying on OSM as a reference for all rails, including historical railways.
My opinion - because of the history of usage, it is better not to delete them for now. But once the rails have been moved into Open Historical Maps, then it is more reasonable that they can be removed from OSM.
Keep in mind that the current tools to move data from OSM to OHM are poor, as well as the railfan reference maps do not yet make use of OHM when rendering. Many rail-fans in the US also contribute general OSM data and it’s better not to drive them away from the tiny OSM US community.