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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.

A rail participant is any organisation or person responsible for the provision or maintenance of rail services. Section 4 of the Railways Act 2005(external link) defines rail participants, as well as the responsibilities of access providers, rail operators and rail personnel.

There are more than 300 rail participant organisations, including:

Participant organisationDescription
National rail provider (KiwiRail) Both access provider for the national rail system, and a rail operator carrying freight and providing long distance passenger services.
Passenger Metro In conjunction with maintenance partners, they operate and maintain Auckland and Wellington’s passenger rail service. They carry tens of millions of urban passengers annually.
Tourist and heritage A group which provides tourist and/or heritage rail experiences. This includes narrow gauge rail, trams and small scale tourist operations and they operate mainly on private lines.
Freight industrial Operate sidings at industrial plants and factories off the main rail network. KiwiRail drops and collects wagons at their sites for them to load/unload.
Utility and goods servicing Specialised rail work trains used to carry staff and materials to maintain services such as electricity and water.
Funders Asset owners who have operational contracts with rail service providers to run, maintain and operate passenger services.
Rail vehicle providers A group that provides and/or maintains rail vehicles for other operators to use. They could provide operational vehicles (e.g. locomotives or metro carriages) or maintenance vehicles (e.g. high rail vehicles).
Rail maintenance providers A group that carries out maintenance on railway infrastructure. They may operation rail vehicles for maintenance purposes.
Access providers A group that provide access to a railway line for others to operate rail vehicles on, such as tramways.

In addition, other key stakeholders include representative organisations that represent Rail Sector interests. The largest ones are the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU), representing most paid railway workers and the Federation of Rail Organisations (FRONZ), representing most Tourist and Heritage Participants.

Find out more about the New Zealand rail participants and stakeholders.

Rail participants are legally liable for the safe operation of their activities.

Section 15 of the Railways Act 2005(external link) defines which rail participants must be licensed. Learn more about applying for a rail licence.

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