[Tagging] Miniature railways and park t rains

stevea steveaOSM at softworkers.com
Tue Jan 19 04:55:52 UTC 2021

Distinctions between kinds of rail are varied both in OSM and their categorization in the greater world.

Narrow gauge are more like "real" railways (could be freight, ore, industrial, passengers...), but with a gauge less than standard.

Miniature are often (but not always) a "scale" of "real" or "standard" gauge rail, like "1/4 scale miniature rail."  Obviously, they, too are always smaller than "standard" rail.  Yes, these are often found in parks, amusement parks and associated with rail museums or tourist attractions, but that isn't necessarily true in every single case.  There are certainly miniature rails where I it isn't difficult imagining the owner using them to transport fertilizer or livestock feed as s/he takes a ride as well (maybe with the grandkids having fun, maybe with some ranch hands tossing off hay or unloading a small water tank to water cattle).  This might be fanciful, but what goes on behind the gates of large, private areas that have a miniature rail, we can't always say for sure 100% of the time, now can we?

It's nothing to do with the "scope of the route."  At least as far as I know and in how I see it tagged in the map, nor having anything to do with such a distinction in the real world.

There are also amusement park rail, OSM seems to be a bit loose with where this begins and ends and how they are consistently denoted in our map data.  We might tighten this up in our wiki, it's presently less-than-clear.

I've wiki'd about this in [1], where its Tourism section [2] has a couple of hopefully-useful tables to show that sometimes we know the passenger-oriented routes (route=train, route=tram, route=funicular...) about these, sometimes we know the route=railway (track infrastructure) about these (even if just a single way or a siding-track, rather than a full route=railway relation).  At least this is a way we do this sort of categorization in the USA (and North America), which isn't too far different than how the rest of the world does rail in OSM.  (Europe, especially Germany, also uses route=tracks relations, which we don't have in North America and other parts of the world).

Map your best, tag your best, wiki your best.


[1] https://wiki.osm.org/California/Railroads
[2] https://wiki.osm.org/California/Railroads/Passenger#Tourism.2C_museum.2C_heritage_and_historic_.28passenger.3Dlocal.29_trains

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