I am struggling to come up with a proper layer style for a rail network extracted from OSM in QGIS. I just want active rail so I choose the "rail" tagged features (rule-based rendering). But since every track is a line and escpecially within cities, there a sometime 5 or more tracks close to each other so the symbology looks pretty ugly like in the screenshot. What could I do besides, deleting the features I do not want to be shown (which would mean a lot of work)?

Example of bad rail signatures

2 Answers 2


I would stick to the OSM design as close as possible. It works pretty well accross most zoom levels.

I use #787878 for the base colour. Width 1mm. For the dashed line on top I use white as colour. Width 0.6mm. Cap style Square. Custom Dash 1.5mm (Space 3).

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  • thanks for the proposed styling method. I would still like to have just one line but I can live with your solution better than with mine before ;)
    – Phil
    Apr 19, 2016 at 17:23

Some other things you could consider to reduce the number of lines shown is to use the "service" tag to filter out some of the shorter segments like small spurs and internal yard lines:

  • service = siding: Relatively short lengths of track, running parallel to (and connected to) a main route
  • service = spur: Relatively short lengths of track, built to give one company or entity access to a main or branch line.
  • service = yard: Tracks within railway company operated marshaling or maintenance yards.

See more info here: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:railway

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