[Tagging] Disused/historic railway stations

Greg Troxel gdt at ir.bbn.com
Wed Feb 6 00:50:57 GMT 2013

I don't know what those mean, but there are two separate concepts being

  A) There used to be a (logical) railway station at a site.  This
     really doesn't have anything to do with buildings.  Subclasses
     could be if the station is no longer in use but the railway is
     active, or if the railway is some flavor of not used.

  B) There is a building that used to be a railway station.

without thinking too much:
For A, I would go for railway:historic=station_site based on taginfo.
For B, I would tend to go for railway:historic=station.

But, I'd ask: how is the distinction between a station location and
station building made now, for stations that are in service?  Is it
really railway=station vs building=train_station?

Is there a general notion of "there used to be a foo here"?  I would
think that if the tag a=b used to be appropriate but isn't (and it
belongs in the db, avoiding that) then it would make sense to have
historic:a=b as general form.
So that would lead to

  historic:railway=station (on a node that was the site, perhaps on one of
  the rails)

  historic:building=train_station (on the building way)

While we're on the subject of old railway things, since it's sort of
related, I have long found the OSM scheme to be unable to represent an
important distinction in the US, and I suspect this is true beyond the
US.  I list the OSM tags, with US terms (as used by the USGS on topos):

railway=rail means:
  "in service"

railway=disused can mean two legally different things:
  "out of service"
  "abandoned (tracks present)"

railway=abandoned can mean:
  "old railroad grade": abandoned, tracks not present, obvious railway bed
  some evidence of an old railroad grade

(For the verifiability extremists, out of service vs abandoned can be
easily verified by reading the published decisions of the government,
which approves abandonment.  It's an easily-checked objective fact.
What's actually harder is rail vs "out of service".)

Do people think that non-abandoned out-of-service tracks should be
labeled rail or disused?

I'm not trying to complain about British vs US English; the problem is
that disused and abandoned both mean two slightly different things.  (I
am also curious if a British railroad geek could explain if the OSM
terms seem right to the railfan community.)
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