F.A.Q

We typically receive similar questions and feedback regarding our abandoned railroads map as well as occasionally on the blog; thus I decided to answer some of them here. If you have a question that isn't on here, feel free to email me at railtrace91@gmail.com or post a comment on the page below. Thanks!


Q: Are you affiliated with any other websites?
A: Forgotten Railways, Roads & Places isn't affiliated with any other website at this time. We once had a social media presence but have since migrated away from social media. We may or may not begin again in the future.

Q: Your abandoned railroads map doesn't have the line which went from "here" to "there".
A: We usually get this in statement form and not in question form. As we note in the info for the abandoned railroads map, the map is incomplete and is certainly erroneous in spots. This is a crowd-sourced and ongoing project, and thus by its nature will always be incomplete. We are based in the United States, and as such, need as much help as we can mapping the rest of the world. We welcome your information on it, and if you wish to share your knowledge on the map, please either Contact or email railtrace91@gmail.com.

Q: Can I have access to the Abandoned Railroads map and make contributions myself?
A: We cannot accept others to have access to the map in an admin role to preserve data integrity. If there is an issue with the data we have, please contact us and let us know, and your contribution will be noted on the map.

Q: Do you accept KML files to add to the map?
A: Yes, absolutely! Please use this Google Form template.

Q: Are you working on any improvements to the map for mobile users?
A: We had an app called RailROWMap to utilize mobile capabilities, however it was incredibly slow and did not provide a good user interface that could match the desktop version of the map, and as such, it has been discontinued.

Q: Are you affiliated with any museums or other railroad historians?
A: No, not at this time, although I do encourage you, if you have the time and energy, to volunteer at at your nearest railroad museum. 

Q: How do you find abandoned railroad lines?
A: There is no one answer to this question. Outside of the contributions of the many users of this website, of whom I am thankful for, the lines I've found on my own have come from numerous sources. HistoricAerials.com and the USGS Topo Map Explorer are probably the two best resources for finding abandoned railroad lines have little or no visibility on satellites, i.e Google Maps. Additionally, Google Books has an extensive collection of railroad books and documents from the 19th and early 20th century, which has been another invaluable resource. 

Numerous hobby and local history websites which I've linked to in the Abandoned Railroads map are also a tremendous help. The STB has a database for finding railroad abandonment dockets, although I personally find the search engine to be relatively user unfriendly and difficult to find info for, but it is nonetheless a great resource if you know what you're looking for. We should also recognize the contributions of Abandoned Rails, for whom we initially used for mapping abandoned lines before finding out their were a ton more that the site hadn't catalogued. 

For non web resources (of which 95% of the data in the world are still housed), your local library would be an excellent source for document filings, titles, and railroad history books, as well as local railway museums and historical societies.

It's also not a bad idea to go for a walk outside either, as that's how I found my first few abandoned railroad lines, including the one which led to Argonne National Laboratory.

So yeah, pretty much anywhere
Q: I sent an email or a comment and I never received an answer and the line never went on the map. Why?
A: We try to respond to every email and comment that comes our way, but especially when the abandoned railroads map gets shared with a larger audience, we can receive dozens of emails in one day. I apologize if yours got lost in the cracks, but it does happen.

We prefer to receive emails, as those are easiest to track. If you don't hear from us in a timely fashion, it is okay to try again if you wish to do so. Generally, we respond to emails within a few days.


Q: Where can I find information on Rail Trails? 
A: Our map provides a little information on rail trails, but our focus is on abandoned railroad corridors. As such, you would be better served by the maps and information on TrailLink, a web based map operated by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

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