Station = light_rail?

I was trying to pull Estonian train station/stop data from OSM, but I noticed that a lot of the train stops, for example, Lillekula, are tagged as station = light_rail.

Is there a proper reason for this? I don’t think that Elron commuter service would fit the light rail bill. Light rail is quite a specific term used for a certain kind of service, and the Elron R lines I don’t think are light rail (light rail is usually closer to tram/streetcar service than service like this - light rail usually doesn’t run on shared tracks at 100+ kmph).


I don’t know of any reasons for this. I think you’d have better luck contacting @Bobropiton as he is the one who added this tag and did a lot of public transport edits in Tallinn.

This tag was not added by me. It was added by Claudius Henrichs | OpenStreetMap, f.e. in changeset
Changeset: 71721201 | OpenStreetMap

This tag does not apply to the Elron’s system, in my opinion. So I have a plan to remove it within a couple of weeks, as well as add service=* tags to train routes, to distinguish between long-distance trains (To Tartu, f.e.) and near suburbs.

Oh, sorry. Thought it was you. About service, I think you’re a bit late, I’ve seen @CaptainFehlentscheidung already adding such tags about a week ago.

Edit: I’ve looked at this Node History: ‪Lilleküla‬ (‪680019762‬) | OpenStreetMap but maybe you’ve changed it by example.

I’ve noticed that different countries have different tagging schemes for “light rail”. In North America, we use light rail tags to indicate anything that has some characteristics of a metro, and some characteristics of a tram. They may or may not have street-running sections, and almost always have lower passenger capacity than a metro. But in Germany, we see light rail tagging used to describe S-Bahn systems (metro-like trains that operate on conventional railway tracks).

From my American perspective, these would not be station=light_rail, but a German mapper might disagree. It’s up to you and the local community to determine what “light rail” means in your country.

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Thumbs-up to what Clay says above (and I did), though I’d also like to stress it is especially helpful to create (and maintain / update) “national” (and / or “state / provincial”) rail wiki pages that denote such regional-specific rail details in how OSM might tag rail-related elements in a particular area. Thanks!

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@Bobropiton, the service=* tag [1] is used on railway tracks (the ways, not a relation) to indicate sidings, spurs, crossovers and yards. More correctly, to distinguish light rail tracks being used for suburban vs. long-distance services, is the passenger=* tag [2], not tagged on tracks, but instead tagged on route=train relations. For example, you might tag passenger=national on a long-distance route=train relation like Tartu, and passenger=suburban on “suburban” train relations. But you don’t add service=* tags to a route=train relation.

There is also key:usage [3], with values like main, branch, industrial and more. These tags ARE placed directly on the tracks (the ways tagged railway=rail), not on the relation that contains them (like a route=railway relation that contains all of a “branch” rail’s railway=rail elements).

It can be confusing (at first) on what tags go on ways (railway=rail, railway=light_rail…) and what tags go on relations (route=railway relations don’t get usage tags, the underlying ways in them do; passenger=* tags DO go on route=train, route=light_rail… relations). But with a bit of wiki reading and consultation / dialog with fellow OSM contributors (like here), you can do it, and it isn’t that difficult.

Thank you for contributing to rail (railway and passenger route tagging) in OSM!

[1] Key:service - OpenStreetMap Wiki
[2] Key:passenger - OpenStreetMap Wiki
[3] Key:usage - OpenStreetMap Wiki

There are some obvious inconsistency in how light_rail is used in some countries. Viz Berlin and other suburban heavy rail S-Bahn, which is not the other meaning of stadtbahn.

I apologize here, as I made a mistake. I find myself saying “I have taken my own advice to read our wiki [1] and as I do, I find service:* can be used on route=trains.”

Its values include “car” (which I’ve seen before and even documented years ago in a USA rail wiki, but I forgot I did that) as well as values like night, regional, commuter, high_speed, long_distance and others.

The wiki contains a comment about using service:* tags on route=train relations I hadn’t seen before which states:

“Trains only: type of train service. This tag should make distinction between different types of train easier beyond borders in order that users do not have to parse reference numbers.”

That is new to me and I have never used that tagging before (in the USA where I map rail and train routes), but I do not disagree with it at all. (And I do now recall that we have a service=car train route in the USA and I documented this, though I forgot I did that). Now I see that service=commuter and service=long_distance can be used as @Bobropiton suggested.

I regret my error and any resulting confusion; I was the confused one, but I am more clear on this now.

[1] Public transport - OpenStreetMap Wiki