Train stations in theme park

Good morning, I have already talked about this issue on the Italian mailing list, and on the one dedicated to the topic of transport.
I’m also writing here to gather your point of view.
In the Italian list there is debate and opinions are different.
We talking about the train stations used as attractions within the theme parks and similiar.
In your opinion, should these stations be tagged using the “public_transport” key?

Thank you all

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Can you post photo of them? There is a wide variety of objects that could be described in this way.

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I think this is a sensible initiative as this has long been an issue. I remember passing Europa Park on the train and my Garmin maintaining that there were masses of railway stations nearby. Obviously these aren’t really part of a public transport network and are typically more part of the theme park experience (although some do play a role in moving customers around the park/zoo etc), and there should be some tagging approach which separates those from other railway stations which are used for public transport (including many tourist lines).


Maybe something like this:

(Taken from Parc 2019)

The “station” in question is Node History: ‪Chablais City‬ (‪6454341246‬) | OpenStreetMap

The general way to tell “real” stations from “tourist” ones is to use usage=tourism. I do that for web maps and Garmin maps.

On Garmin maps “real” stations are searchable via “Transportation / Ground Transportation” and “tourist” ones via “Attractions / Landmark”.

One of the examples above is usage=leisure, so maybe I need to widen my “tourist station” net slightly :slight_smile:

Some are tagged as station=miniature and tourism=yes (see e.g. Node: 3426439610 | OpenStreetMap)

Comments here about miniature and tourism tagging are all good and true. There really are differences between rail that is “out in the public across vast distances” and that which is more isolated, perhaps in a park or theme park, and doesn’t really “go anywhere,” except to entertain or perhaps educate on the history of the rail, maybe associated with a rail museum.

My approach to these (and the tagging I use and has emerged in OSM over a decade or two) is that “rail that people can ride” are quite different from each other, falling into roughly three kinds. (I purposely exclude freight, industrial, military and scientific rail here, as those do not convey passengers):

  1. There is “passenger rail” of the sort that ranges from long-distance international and national routes (where you might sleep and eat on the train for days, perhaps stretching your legs at brief stops at stations along the way), medium-distance “regional” or “intercity” rail (where you might spend many hours or most of a day going from city to city), “suburban” rail of the sort that commuters might ride for most of an hour to and from work, “city” or “light” rail, a higher-caliber, tram-like, moderate speed (not slow, like trams or purely local rail) passenger service that spans (and may or may not fully cover) larger cities with one, two, three or more different lines, and more “local” passenger rail service which can include trams, streetcars, cable cars and other short-distance rail that is designed to offer point-to-point passenger transport services. Local can also include things like airport-style “terminal-to-terminal” rail, or short-distance monorails, though not in theme parks.

  2. There is “tourist rail” which often results from “keeping alive” a rail line which decades (or a century) ago was a real, working industrial / freight rail but now has been converted to a tourist attraction or part of a rail museum experience. It doesn’t really “go anywhere” but is both enjoyable and educational to ride. Sometimes (rarely, really), this can offer a modicum of “local service” from point-to-point, but that usually isn’t the primary reason for such rail: it is primarily tourism-oriented.

  3. Also tourism-oriented, but in a different way, there are either “theme park” rail (at places like Disneyland or Disneyworld) or “miniature” rail (it may also be “full scale” or “standard gauge” rail) or monorail at places like city parks, county fairgrounds, private ranches and the like. These are also “tourism oriented,” but are not part of a theme park experience, but rather are a single passenger rail experience specific to that location.

Respectively (at least as consensus has emerged in California and more widely, in the USA), these get tags passenger=international, passenger=national, passenger=regional, passenger=suburban, passenger=urban and passenger=local. That last tag is rather broad and needs some discretion in its tagging.

See California/Railroads/Passenger - OpenStreetMap Wiki (and perhaps its associated parent- and sub-wikis) for an example of a catalog of these various kinds of passenger rail, how we categorize them and how we tag them. The section of this wiki — Section 2, " Tourism, museum, heritage and historic (possibly passenger=local trains)" — which includes tables that contain “theme park” rail entries might help you converge those examples with your specific kinds of “theme park passenger rail.”

Thank to all.
Here you can find 2 pics:

From my point of view, the use of the “public_transport:station” tag is misleading because it is not a real public transport service, but a recreational transport. Sometimes it can take me from one point to another point in the theme park, but I think this is not enough to make it a public transport service. Furthermore, I don’t know if this definition is affected by the fact that they are located in areas that require an entrance ticket. Maybe not.

Here you can see an example of station tagged as public transport:

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Railways like the Ffestiniog Railway blurs the line between tourist railway and normal railways a bit

Last time we travelled on it, we used a National Rail/Transport for Wales ticket along with Railcard discount

We have also bought a single ticket for the Talyllyn, to a halt where a footpath crossed. That one made them think, don’t think the staff that day had ever been asked for a halt with no platform before.

Given your photographs and descriptions, I would not use public_transport:station tagging here. You are correct that this is “recreational” transport rather than “actual” public transport. You can do a lot of comprehensive tagging of this railway (might be railway=narrow_gauge, might be railway=miniature, you should include a gauge=# tag, value in mm wide, if known).

But yes, I’m not 100% sure the best method to tag “the station,” except to say (as I do above) “don’t use the public_transport key” in doing so. Given the open-air roof area where boarding / de-boarding takes place, I say building=railway_station will suffice, as it overlapping with the tracks and being a building makes sense both to most renderers and people seeing these elements together as rendered, and interpreting these as “here is where the station is.”

You are “on the right track” here (heh).


Pretty much universal on Swiss “tourist” railways, where at least some of the traffic is local people using it for day to day travel (certainly seen such usage on the Brienzer-Rothorn-Bahn, the Montreux-Rochers-de-Naye line (heavy usage by people living in Glion and students at the hospitality college at Caux). You also get oddities where the Muerren line is usage=branch (and not connected to another railway, although it used to be), but the railway on the other side to Wengen is usage=tourism. Both villages are not directly accessible by car. The Jungfraubahn is probably the only one with pure tourist usage in Switzerland.

Looking at the history of some of these stations, it seems that public_transport=station is suggested by iD for nodes tagged solely with railway=station, so users are encouraged to add it even if semantically wrong (I think we all agree on this). I don’t know if it’s feasible to implement an exception for this, e.g. don’t suggest public_transport=station for stations inside a theme_park.

At the very least I would propose adding the usage tag to tracks and stations. Given that usage=tourism seems more geared towards historic/preserved railways, maybe pushing usage=leisure as mentioned above could be a better choice (currently has 71 usages).

71 usages and I agree that usage=leisure is, let’s say, “a thing.” I’m OK with tagging this (the photo, looks like railway=miniature to me) with that. The ORM folks (mostly in Germany I believe who write that renderer / overlay layer) see some plasticity here, no doubt. So the ORM docs (wiki) could offer more hints of what might be best there (or everywhere). There are currently six (or seven, if you count scientific) values for usage:*, adding an eighth (one more) for “these” seems OK to me, though, let’s be clear we’re doing that (saying so in wiki).

New topic: head off to Talk page of usage: and hammer out a usage=leisure entry in that wiki. (Our wiki scatters a number of usage=* tables like this one as usage:* is a key already well-loaded, also being used with waterways and pipelines). Thanks.

That’s a nice start, @Something_B ! (A table entry, empty of description).

Edit: Cool, the usage:* table has nicely sprouted new (basic) entries for leisure and science.

Late to the discussion, but lately I’ve been using the tag public_transport=no to satisfy validators and prevent railway features from having their tags mistakenly ‘completed’. This may be helpful to use in conjunction with railway=station.

yes, this is a possibility, but IMHO it would be better to state what it is, rather than what it isn’t, i.e. distinguish for example goods stations (freight yards) from switch yards (marshalling yard) (not sure which is the best terminology).

Those (freight vs. marshallng yards) are two good examples of different kinds of yards, so pretty good example there, and pretty accurate naming choices selected in English. Many “rail fans” and “casual mappers” might think “a rail yard is a rail yard…” but in OSM (and ORM), we do rather carefully tag these. Rail professionals use quite specific distinctions among these, even if they appear (in the real world) to be quite similar to each other. (See, for example, OpenRailwayMap/Tagging in North America - OpenStreetMap Wiki and how two different tags are used: railway=yard and railway=service_station — which resembles a “yard” but is different).

I generally agree with “tag what is, rather than tag what isn’t,” (though tagging “what isn’t” isn’t exactly wrong). Yet, I see Clay’s point that public_transport=no “seals the deal” for those tempted to “complete” rail tagging with passenger-oriented tagging which shouldn’t be there at all.