[Tagging] unfinished railway of historic importance

Russ Nelson nelson at crynwr.com
Sat Feb 25 16:14:45 GMT 2012


On 2/25/2012 07:07:12 Steve Bennett wrote:
 > IMHO there is not much difference between a "almost completed then
 > abandoned" and "completed then abandoned" railway, from the
 > perspective of OSM.

When I'm out in the field chasing an unfinished railroad, it matters
very much. You see, unfinished railroads were always unfinished
abruptly. The company ran out of money, and told the workers to stop
work as of the end of the day. So wherever they were, whatever they
were doing, that's what's there.

For example, the Sackets Harbor & Saratoga was being built on a
hillside above the current railroad. The grading goes on for a ways,
level, then runs into exposed bedrock, some of which has been blasted
away.  It continues on that level on the far side of the bedrock. You
wouldn't see that in a completed railway.

Or in another location, they were building a bridge abutment, using
the area behind the abutment as a staging area. There are a few rocks
there with exposed drill holes after being split. One of the rocks has
three drill holes and both halves were right next to each other. THAT
is the rock that the workman was working on when he stopped for that
fateful last day. http://www.flickr.com/photos/russnelson/2412793364

I can whack you over the head with other examples if you're not
convinced yet. :-)

 > because there will never be more than a couple of uses in the
 > database.

See http://russnelson.com/unfinished-railroads.html -- there are 30 of
them in New York State alone. I'm a bit parochial about my railroads,
so I don't edit out of my area (much), and neither do I do much
research out of my area. I don't know how many other unfinished
railroads there are out there. Richard has found one, and I was
pointed to one in Massachussetts.

The Wikipedia article on Panic of 1873 says that 89 railroads went
bankrupt. Since one of the causes of the Panic of 1873 was people
building too many railroads, chances are very good that a good number
of them were in the process of being built. Only three of my 30 died
because of the panic, which says that there are a LOT more unfinished
railroads out there.

It deserves its own tag. Not that I expect renderers to render it
differently, but it would be nice if they did, and just having a note,
with variable prose makes it unreasonable to expect them to do it.

-- 
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