[Tagging] Disused/historic railway stations

Greg Troxel gdt at ir.bbn.com
Thu Feb 7 00:11:17 GMT 2013

Steve Bennett <stevagewp at gmail.com> writes:

> On Wed, Feb 6, 2013 at 9:28 PM, Jonathan Bennett <jonobennett at gmail.com> wrote:
>> There was this discussion on talk-gb recently:
>> http://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/talk-gb/2013-January/014376.html
> Yeah, that's actually what prompted this discussion - I was pointed
> there by Andy Allan when I commented on some OpenCycleMap rendering
> peculiarities.
> I guess there is a complete continuum between "there is an active
> train station here" and "there was once a train station here, but now
> there is nothing but a memory":
> railway=station (active)
> disused:railway=station (temporarily or recently inactive)

Perhaps; but disused has a different connotation in rail=disused.  But
if disused: is a prefix generally used for many things (e.g, a
restaurant that is recently closed and might reopen might be

To me the key point is that a naive renderer that doesn't understand
historic/disused won't end up with the wrong values.

> railway:historic=station (a building that was formerly a station, and
> is now decrepit or used for a different purpose?)
> historic:railway=station (the same thing?)

I prefer the historic: prefix.

> railway:historic=station_site (less than a building - maybe a marker,
> an old platform etc.)

Again I would flip to historic:railway, but as long as there is an
OSM-wide convention it of course doesn't matter.

> Do I have this right? How does one tag a station that is active, but
> also of great historical value?

I think the "this building is of historical value" is totally separate
From "this used to be a foo", and should be decoupled from
the railroad-specific discussion.

> Greg wrote:
>>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?
> I can't speak for others, but "building=yes" is the only building tag
> I ever use. Otherwise you get into a double tagging mess. So I put a
> "railway=station" node at the centre, and various "building=yes" and
> "railway=platform" ways as needed. (What is a "station building"
> technically, anyway... frequently stations have several buildings,
> etc.)

I dimly remember now that around Boston, station tags for non-terminal
stations (on commuter rail, but they are typically stations that have
existed since the railroads were built in the mid 1800s) are often nodes
on the rail ways.  Then there's a building on one side, which may or may
not still be a station building (typically not, but if the coffee shop
sells tickets, maybe it is???).  As for multiple buildings -- that's a
good point -- I was thinking about the classic one-building station.

So I think there's still confusion around "station site" and "station
building", especially because in the present, railway=station means the
site and we don't really denote the building.  In the historic:,
railway=station is the building and railway=station_site is the place.
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