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The NZ Transport Agency has primary regulatory responsibility for rail safety in New Zealand. The Rail Safety team has a critical regulatory role in assuring stakeholders and the public that the country's rail networks are being managed safely.

The safe operation of rail transport services across New Zealand is achieved through regulation of the rail industry in accordance with the Railways Act 2005 (external link) (referred to as the Act). This mostly involves issuing licences and undertaking a range of compliance functions to assess the safety approach and performance of rail licence holders.

New Zealand’s rail networks cover some of the country’s most demanding and often isolated terrain. Urban environments and the places where road and rail meet also present significant safety challenges.

The Transport Agency:

  • licences rail operators to operate (we decide who can and cannot operate rail vehicles or manage rail networks),
  • monitors rail safety (we observe and seek evidence on how a participant is managing their safety obligations), and
  • steps in when necessary to help ensure the public, rail workers and contractors are protected from harm.

The Transport Agency administers the Railways Act 2005 (external link) and works closely with other agencies and regulators, including WorkSafe (external link) and the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (external link) .