Railway network of Galicia and Austrian Silesia 1847 - 1914

Published: 02-11-2020| Version 3 | DOI: 10.17632/h2gzf2pggm.3
Dominik Kaim,
Jakub Taczanowski,
Marcin Szwagrzyk,
Krzysztof Ostafin


The dataset presents the historical railway network of Galicia and Austrian Silesia – two regions of the Habsburg Empire, covering more than 80 000 km2, currently divided among Czechia, Poland and Ukraine. The network covers the times of railway appearance and the most dynamic development of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, up to 1914 – the outbreak of the First World War. The data can be characterized by unprecedented positional accuracy, as they were reconstructed based on the current railway network, which resulted in almost no shifts in space. Most of the lines were reconstructed based on OpenStreetMap data, and the lines, which were closed-down between 1914 and 2019, and are no longer available in spatial datasets, were reconstructed based on high-resolution satellite imageries and historical maps. Altogether, the network covers more than 5000 km on 127 lines. The data are accompanied by a set of attributes, i.e. year of construction, length, starting and final point, type (normal, narrow-gauge, etc.). It can be used in many different applications including historical accessibility mapping, migrations, economic development, the impact of past human activities on current environmental and socio-economic processes, like land use change drivers, landscape fragmentation, invasion of new species and many more. Data are available for download in the shp format. Please note: Our work was focused on publicly accessible railway lines open for regular passenger traffic and hence did not contain the sidings constructed locally, e.g. to serve industrial sites or narrow gauge forest lines. Acknowledgments This research was funded by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Republic of Poland under the frame of “National Programme for the Development of Humanities” 2015–2020, as a part of the GASID project (Galicia and Austrian Silesia Interactive Database 1857–1910, 1aH 15 0324 83).


Steps to reproduce

The network reconstruction was based on the current railway network data, available in OpenStreetMap (OSM). We first downloaded the railway data in shp format for the whole study area and then deleted all the lines constructed later than in 1914. In the next step, we deleted one of the parallel tracks from double-track lines from the database, leaving only one, as it was in the times of construction in the 19th century. Next, we verified which lines, constructed before 1914, were closed-down before 2019 and cannot be found in the OSM database anymore. In such cases, we used historical maps (e.g. Austrian third military survey maps, Polish topographic maps from the 1930s) to consult the approximate route, and then used high-resolution satellite imagery, to manually vectorise the detailed line course. The database topology was verified in ArcMap topology tools. Finally, we added the attributes presented below: • L_ID – line id number used in the study • Start – starting point of the line • Finish – finish point of the line • Date – year of the line construction • narrow_g – if the line was created as a narrow gauge (0,1) • Comments – comments indication line close-down or corrections • Name – name of the line in 1884