[Tagging] unfinished railway of historic importance

Nathan Edgars II neroute2 at gmail.com
Sat Feb 25 14:45:15 GMT 2012

On 2/25/2012 8:24 AM, Greg Troxel wrote:
> You probably already know this, but: in OSM railway=abandoned is what we
> in the US would call "old railroad grade".  railway=disused seems to
> cover both what we would call "out of service" (a term within railroad
> regulation, referring to tracks/ROW still owned by the railroad, on
> which they have discontinued service, but not formally abandoned -- and
> might resume) and "abandoned" (again a term with formal meaning,
> generally requiring ICC permission, etc.).

It's actually more complicated. In the U.S. you have:

FRA excepted: poor condition, max speed 10 mph, no passenger trains. 
This may look like disused to the layman.

out of service: disused, e.g. UP's Tennessee Pass Subdivision: no 
regular service, but there may still be the occasional special train. 
The STB (ex-ICC) calls this discontinuance.

interim trail use/rail banking: rails removed and right-of-way reused 
for trail purposes. To get around reversionary clauses in the original 
deeds, this is NOT legally considered to be abandoned, and is subject to 
future reactivation by the railroad company. Obviously in OSM we call 
this abandoned.

abandoned: full abandonment approved by the STB, and rails usually 
removed. The right-of-way may have reverted to adjacent property owners, 
or may still be owned by the railroad company (if there are no 
reversionary clauses), or may have been sold for linear uses (including 
trails). We call this abandoned unless rails are still in place.

More information about the Tagging mailing list