Commons:Categories for discussion/2013/02/Category:Steam locomotives of Britain by railway

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Category:Steam locomotives of Britain by railway[edit]

UK vs Britain?

This is a recent and undiscussed move of Britain to UK for railway categories. See Special:Contributions/Railwayfan2005. Those listed are for steam locomotives, but the issue applies to railway rolling stock in general. This same issue was raised two years ago at Commons:Categories_for_discussion/2011/03/Category:Industrial_locomotives_of_Britain and the move was rejected.

The issues are:

  • Undiscussed beforehand, either through cat talk pages or through any sort of project organisation. This is a big change, its logical implications affect a substantial category tree.
  • GB is not the same thing as the UK! I know this is an international project, but will non-UK people please have just a little consideration for highly political local issues.
  • For railway matters, GB is much more appropriate than UK (see Commons:Categories_for_discussion/2011/03/Category:Industrial_locomotives_of_Britain). The different gauge used in Ireland and Northern Ireland means that the English, Welsh & Scottish systems in GB have much closer relations than they do with NI and the rest of the UK.

This isn't an argument against the UK categories as a metacategory of GB & NI, but we shouldn't remove the GB structure like this.

Note also that this issue doesn't really affect narrow gauge systems, but these are more regional anyway. Those need English, Welsh & Scottish groups, but they could go from this to UK without too much trouble – although even that doesn't exclude a GB category for consistency.

Andy Dingley (talk) 23:25, 26 February 2013 (UTC)


This is a very tricky problem, in the past I have created "Britain" categories, but perhaps with hindsight regret this.

We have an established system of using UK, the main Category:Rail transport in the United Kingdom is subdivided into Rail transport in England‎, Rail transport in Northern Ireland‎, Rail transport in Scotland and‎ Rail transport in Wales‎. There is no Britain sub category. These categories cover everything rail related, stations, track, tunnels, junctions, depots, companies, history, etc not just rolling stock.

I have no preference for either term but the term chosen should be applied to all railway categories, the efforts to move some but not all categories to Britain (mainly rolling stock) has resulted in a confusing and unpredictable category tree. whatever term is chosen should be applied to all relevant railway categories.

A side issue is that both "Great Britain" and just "Britain" are used Category:Diesel locomotives of Great Britain V Category:Steam locomotives of Britain

Commons:Categories_for_discussion/2011/03/Category:Industrial_locomotives_of_Britain hardly reached a conclusion just two people disagreeing.

In practice the Northern Ireland media has found itself in it's own separate sub category of the UK, that being NI

On balance I support sticking with UK cats as I feel attempts to move to Britain will end up being half implemented resulting in a confusing category structure. Unless someone will do the whole structure, which I suspect would be very hard to complete.

Oxyman (talk)

" the efforts to move some but not all categories to Britain"
What efforts? This is an effort to move things the other way. Andy Dingley (talk) 11:24, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
Simply that the UK structure existed before any "Britain" structure, the Britain categories have been created by people not following the established protocol (I include myself in this) at first they were so minor that it didn't really matter, but then we started getting duplications of the UK structure Category:Diesel locomotives of the United Kingdom was created 31 January 2008‎, we now also have Category:Diesel locomotives of Great Britain created 8 June 2012‎. the creator of that last category must have known about the first, The classes of locomotives listed are by and large duplicated in both categories, leaving me very confused as to why it was felt the duplicate cat was needed Oxyman (talk) 16:15, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
If you have some sort of problem with me, let's just skip that "the creator of that last category" malarkey and say that I was the one who did it (which you obviously knew, having looked at the creation date), and it was a substantial bunch of effort to place a load of correctly-categorised BR sub cats into it. Now unless I've missed out on the Deltics in Derry, the railway systems of NI and GB are isolated and have little interoperation for any rolling stock. We wouldn't merge UK categories with France, just because the Southern used to run boat trains there. Why should we upmerge an achieved structure that reflects a clear reality? It's not as if anyone is suggesting "Locomotives of Scotland" as a distinct group.
So are you in favour of edits like this, where a category for narrow gauge in Wales is categorized into the general "UK, any gauge" lump? Andy Dingley (talk) 17:30, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
You directly asked what efforts I was referring to about moving some but not all categories to Britain. So I gave you an example of such practice, presumably as it was you who was doing it you knew full well what I was referring to, you can't ask for such an example and then claim that I have "some sort of problem with" you when I give you that example. I Have never claimed that the NI rail system is not separate to that of GB, in fact I have some agreement that we have a "British" railway system. But I would point out that we have had UK cats for rail transport for many years and it has worked out well enough with the NI media finding its way to a separate subcat, that of NI. Semantically you may be correct but why change just some rolling stock cats? creating confusion and a disjointed cat structure, When as I have already said the UK cats cover everything rail related, stations, track, tunnels, junctions, depots, companies, history, etc. I don't wish to attack you or anyone else over this matter, as I already said I have had some difficulties with this issue myself and have created cats inconsistent with what had been established. Is it really a good idea to partially dismantle an established cat structure by fussing over such semantics? Personally I doubt it affects someone who is looking for media relating to UK/GB railways what term is used so long as they can follow a consistent cat structure Oxyman (talk) 20:36, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
As the person responsible for the moves my opinion is that the England, Britain & Great Britain tiers add no value to the by railway category. They just add an extra superfluous layer to be clicked through when trying to navigate the hierarchy. To be honest I don't think the distinction by fuel type and gauge currently adds any value either, other than perhaps to people who search for the exact category name. The heritage railway tier can be put aside as well. The only things which really matter are the railway itself and the fact it's a UK railway. The rest of the sub tiers are just cruft. As a resident of the UK I hate the fact that nobody understands the name of the country we inhabit. (PS the Industrial locomotives debate never went to a vote so was not rejected.) Railwayfan2005 (talk) 21:14, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
So why not merge to "Locomotives of Europe" ? Whether you're interested or not, it's pretty indisputable that there are many readers who do care about regions, power or even broad issues of gauge to the standard/smaller level. No-one is asking you to do the legwork to implement this, just to not remove work that was already done. Andy Dingley (talk) 21:58, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
Readers? This is Wikimedia not Wikipedia. All that has happened so far is to create an un-navigatable mess. Lets ditch the superfluous Britain/Great Britain level, and if you feel the UK level categories are overpopulated move to separate England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales levels. Whilst we are at it can we set out what "Railway" means and what "UK" means? What railway does Tornado belong to? What's the naming convention we are adopting for categories? Railwayfan2005 (talk) 22:58, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
This isn't about overpopulation, it's about there being a functional difference between GB & NI rolling stock. Incidentally, one that isn't there across English, Welsh or Scottish stock. Andy Dingley (talk) 01:20, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
What functional differences are there? In my experience, getting on a passenger train in Northern Ireland is much the same as getting on a train in Wales, or even Slovakia. I don't think the freight traffic noticed the difference either. Railwayfan2005 (talk) 22:53, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
They're a different gauge! What this means in practice is that "Scottish" rolling stock turns up in Wales from time to time, so there's no strong way to distinguish a standard gauge "scottish loco" from a "welsh loco", but there is for NI. Andy Dingley (talk) 11:15, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
There are cases where geographical categories seem to make more sense, but countries prevail in the interest of consistency and usability. If you look at any other category structure on Commons, locations are split by country first. You find very few "Britain" categories. Similarly, "Ireland" categories on Commons refer to the the country, the Republic of Ireland, and not the island - the islands of Britain and Ireland don't appear in the category structure for the majority of topics. Categorizing "Britain" as an entity in any context leaves NI hanging. You could pretend that "Ireland" actually does refer to the island, and put NI under that, but you walk into a minefield. I don't understand what the issue is with the physical difference between NI and GB, and the UK is usually split into 4 country categories anyway --moogsi (blah) 20:59, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
They're a different gauge! this has no bearing on the function of the railway. NIR commuters to Belfast are no different to rail commuters using the London Underground. In the halcyon days of yore, Slate was freight traffic regardless of whether it was moved by the Ffestiniog or GWR. I can see little useful scope for splitting things further in the by Railway branch, ie to England, NI, Scotland & Wales or even worse counties, because many of the railways (LMS, GWR etc) fall into more than one category. Railwayfan2005 (talk) 21:14, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
To see the issue, read en:standard gauge. Ireland (North and South) doesn't use standard gauge. The NI system has some aspects that have more in common with the South's. Andy Dingley (talk) 22:16, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
Please don't fork this discussion onto my user page, it belongs here. I am well aware that the gauges differ. If this is the reason for creating sub categories under Category:Steam locomotives of the United Kingdom then they should be Category:Broad gauge steam locomotives of the United Kingdom, Category:Standard gauge steam locomotives of the United Kingdom or even Category:Irish gauge steam locomotives of the United Kingdom etc. The Britain category is spurious. This at least would resolve the Industrial locos[1] debate.
To date you have not indicated why this category adds any value to the structure. The argument you present is undermined by your choice of category name. It's time this category got deleted so we can get on with actually doing useful stuff. Railwayfan2005 (talk) 21:58, 8 March 2013 (UTC)