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I'm wondering how best to deal with abandoned railway lines which are now in use as footpaths and/or cycle routes. The example I have in mind is shown as an abandoned railway, but these don't appear to be rendered at all on a couple of systems that I'm aware of; including OSM's own website.

It seems to me that current usage should take preference over historical function. Perhaps it's possible to show both in some way, but I don't know how to do this without deleting what is marked at the moment and replacing it with the appropriate path or track.

Is there a generally accepted protocol here?

asked 04 Jul '16, 18:27

misty%20morn's gravatar image

misty morn
accept rate: 0%


One line can have two purposes. The line is currently tagged as railway=abandoned. It can have an extra tag too. There is no reason to delete anything.

(06 Jul '16, 07:40) joost schouppe

If it is a footpath now, tag it as highway=footway. For cycleway, use highway=cycleway. You can keep the railway=disused or abandoned depending on whether the rails are still there or not. You could also add man_made=embankment. Make sure you use different ways where the current path leaves the previous railway.

How it is shown on a map is of little importance. A walking map will focus on footways, a map for railway lovers will show the abandoned railways.

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answered 04 Jul '16, 20:34

escada's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%


Exactly that. Use both highway=footway and railway=abandoned. The two aren't exclusive.

(04 Jul '16, 23:15) Richard ♦

Thanks for that. I was reluctant to radically change something that was already there. It seems, however, that the pathway was developed some time after the abandoned railway was added to OSM so what you have suggested seems perfectly reasonable to me.

(05 Jul '16, 08:58) misty morn

"...Make sure you use different ways where the current path leaves the previous railway...."

I am planning to ask a new question about this but can I ask here (I'm very new)? I want to update attributes for an entire abandoned railway/recreation trail but also for various sections (it is made of an old railway but some parts are used for vehicle traffic now and some have other attributes).

What is the best way to select a large number of way sections? By attribution values? Thx

(07 Jul '16, 17:13) robinottawa

(belated answer to @robinottawa's question)

Split the railway=abandoned where other tags need to change, and add other tags to each part - perhaps highway=service to one part and highway=footway to another.

(01 Jul '18, 11:48) SomeoneElse ♦

Hi take a look here at the Vennbahnweg, using all the tags you want.

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answered 04 Jul '16, 21:40

Hendrikklaas's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%

Thanks for the helpful link.

(05 Jul '16, 08:58) misty morn

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question asked: 04 Jul '16, 18:27

question was seen: 3,278 times

last updated: 01 Jul '18, 11:48

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum