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Operating a railway

Our responsibility for ensuring safety on New Zealand's rail networks includes oversight of all rail participants that, together, form New Zealand’s railway system. This includes the granting of any licence.

If your organisation has or is considering applying for a rail licence to operate a railway, this section covers the criteria you need to meet and general information about your responsibilities as a rail participant or rail licence holder.

You may be licensed as an:

Access provider – that is you control the use of a railway line by rail licence holders.

If you operate as an access provider, you have responsibilities to contractors working on the rail corridor in addition to your responsibilities to your staff, passengers and the public.

You may also have responsibilities under S75 of the Railways Act 2005(external link) for granting easements. Access providers work with Road Controlling Authorities and private land holders to manage safety at level crossings.

Responsibilities for level crossings are described in Part 9 of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Traffic Control Devices Manual [PDF, 9.4 MB].

Rail operator – you provide or operate a rail vehicle, including:

  • a locomotive
  • railcar
  • tram
  • light rail vehicle
  • hi-rail vehicle
  • maintenance vehicle
  • shunting tractor

In this section you will find the following information and resources: