Proposing to deprecate railway=razed and railway=dismantled

Wiki links for easy access:
Demolished Railway - OpenStreetMap Wiki
Tag:railway=razed - OpenStreetMap Wiki
Tag:railway=abandoned - OpenStreetMap Wiki
Tag:railway=disused - OpenStreetMap Wiki

After a long debate over abandoned railways in the general channel of the OSM World discord, there is new interest in reforming the tagging schema for abandoned/non-existent railways. The consensus is that railways that don’t exist should not be mapped on OSM, instead they should be put on OHM, because of the “map what’s on the ground” principle. For some reason, railways are the only group of objects that have non-existent parts still frequently added on the map.

This post is mainly to open up discussion about change to a broader amount of people, since the brief discussion about deprecating railway=razed on the discord already got a wide variety of opinions. This proposal is about deprecating the railway=razed and railway=dismantled tags. If there is still railway parts on the ground, I argue they should be replaced with railway=abandoned or railway=disused and if not they should be removed and ideally moved to OHM.

The wiki page for the railway=razed tag describes it as a tag “where all physical features and traces of the railway have been removed”. There’s not a wiki page for railway=dismantled, but the page for demolished railways says it is used “where mostly all evidence of the line has been removed”. It does not make sense to keep these tags if we want to map only what’s on the ground. Railways should not be the only exception to this principle and these two tags should not be in the database.

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