We provide access to New Zealand’s rail network for Rail Participants who hold a track access agreement with KiwiRail and a rail license issued by the NZ Transport Agency.
Rail Participants and Contractors operating and working on the National Rail System (NRS) are subject to the Railways Act 2005 and must either:
• Hold a track access agreement and rail license covering the scope of the intended activities, or
• Be approved by a Rail Participant holding a track access agreement and a current rail license to work under the scope of those documents.
Additionally, all parties operating on the NRS must comply with the provisions contained within the National Rail System Standards (NRSS). These standards provide a framework for the management of safety and change within a Rail Participants safety system. They also meet legislative requirements and New Zealand Transport Agency’s Rail Safety Licensing and Audit Guidelines.
What the standards cover
NRS standards apply to all activities involving the operation of rail vehicles on the National Rail System, including:
• Definitions (language and terminology)
• Safety Management
• Health assessment of Rail Safety Workers
• Risk Assessment
• Occurrence Management
• Mechanical Engineering Interoperability
• Rail Operations Interoperability
• Document Control
• Crisis Management
• Heritage Vehicle and Train Management
National Rail System Executive
The standards are developed by the National Rail System Executive, a body of representatives from KiwiRail, Transdev, CAF and other organisations.
Latest version of the National Rail System Standards are detailed below.
NRSS 1 - Definitions (Issue 3, Effective Date 20-11-2011) - Click here
Clear communication and language are critical to ensure the safety of operations. NRSS 1 provides the common language and terminology used in New Zealand’s rail industry and throughout the National Rail System Standard.
NRSS 2 - Safety Management (Issue 3, Effective Date 20-11-2011) - Click here
A common safety framework, standards, practices and procedures are core elements of a rail safety management system. NRSS 2 provides guidance for Rail Participants to achieve these aims. And sets the minimum requirements for Rail Participants on New Zealand's rail network.
NTC National Standard for Health Assessment of Rail Safety Workers 2012 (Effective Date 31-10-2015) - Click here
The NTC Standard for Health Assessment of Rail Safety Workers provides a framework for rail operators to manage the risks to safety posed by ill health of rail safety workers on the National Rail System. It outlines procedures for conducting health assessments and the medical criteria for judging fitness for rail safety work. It also provides practical guidance to assist in the risk assessment of rail safety work tasks and determine the appropriate risk category for rail safety workers.
NRSS 4 - Risk Management (Issue 2, Effective Date 11-06-2007) - Click here
NRSS 4 sets the minimum NRS requirements for risk management. It contains information on risk management in terms of occupational, operational and engineering, responsibilities, documentation and associated change.
User Note: NRSS/4 is currently being reviewed. Rail Participants are advised to seek current guidance on best practice risk management from IS0 31000:2009.
NRSS 5 - Occurrence Management (Issue 4, 26-04-2012) - Click here
NRSS 5 contains primary procedures and responsibilities for reporting and managing rail incidents and accidents, also known as occurrences.
NRSS 6 - Engineering Interoperability Standards (Issue 4, Effective Date 19-04-2013) - Click here
NRSS 6 outlines the minimum requirements for rail vehicle interoperability on the NRS. Operators must provide evidence of NRSS/6 compliance to KiwiRail before running rights can be granted.
User note: NRSS/6 is not intended to be a detailed design specification or design standard. Detailed vehicle specifications beyond NRSS/6 requirements (e.g. crashworthyness and fire suppression), and the assessment of compliance processes to contemporary vehicle design standards are agreed between Operators of rail vehicles and the NZ Transport Agency during the regulatory processes for Preliminary Type Approval and Type Approval.
NRSS 7 - Rail Operations Interoperability (Issue 2, Effective Date 11-06-2007) - Click here
NRSS 7 contains high level requirements for the safe operation of rail vehicles by operators and other parties with other rail users. Heritage operators should also see NRSS/11.
NRSS 8 - Document Control (Issue 4.1, Effective Date 27-03-2017) - Click here
NRSS 8 establishes controls to ensure clear, accurate and relevant information is provided in a timely manner. It contains requirements for controlled documentation for the national safety standards.
NRSS 9 - Audit (Issue 3, Effective Date 20-11-2011) - Click here
NRSS 9 creates a generic guide to policy requirements for access providers and operators. It contains definitions and methodology for management system auditing as defined within the rail safety system.
NRSS 10 - Crisis Management Procedures (Issue 4, Effective Date 04-04-2012) - Click here
NRSS 10 sets the requirements for the rail industry to collaborate during a crisis and provides the minimum requirements for a Rail Participants Crisis Management Plan.
NRSS 11 - Heritage Vehicle and Train Management (Issue 1, Effective Date 11-06-2007) - Click here
NRSS 11 contains standards for the registration and operation of heritage vehicles, expectations and requirements for heritage operators using the national rail system.
Use note: NZ Transport Agency Preliminary Type Approval and Type Approval is also required for all new or ex KiwiRail (and predecessor organisations) rail vehicles that a heritage operator intends to run on the NRS.
Amendments to NRSS Standards