Buying property by the rail network

There are some useful things to know if you’re planning to buy a home or business next to the rail network.

Fencing and boundaries

Under the Fencing Act 1978 KiwiRail is not required to contribute to the costs of erecting or maintaining fences along the rail corridor. This is similar to councils which own land with road frontages. In some locations we fence parts of the rail network to keep the railway safe from trespassers and vandals.

It’s your responsibility to check your property’s legal boundaries and ensure that fencing matches the survey boundary and that buildings or other structures are within the boundary. If you occupy KiwiRail land or any building or structure is partially located (‘encroaching’) on our land, you need to hold a Licence to Occupy.


Rail operations can be noisy, both during the day-to-day running and when we are carrying out maintenance and improvement work on the track. We work hard to reduce noise, but a certain amount is unavoidable at times.

KiwiRail holds designations authorising the operation of its network. We are generally required to maintain track and adopt working practices to mitigate the emission of noise and vibrations.

We encourage new developments for activities sensitive to noise (such as housing, medical and teaching spaces) to adopt more than basic building insulation to address noise and vibration.

Find out more about what you can expect when living by the network, including noise and vibration from our activities.

Maintaining or building your property by the rail network

If you plan to carry out certain activities immediately next to our network, you may need to apply to KiwiRail for permission.

The rail network is an operational space and public access is restricted and strictly controlled. If your building is close to the railway corridor boundary you may need to enter the corridor to carry out construction or building maintenance activities such as scaffolding, abseiling, washing exterior walls or replacing windows etc.

Any work within five metres of the rail line or rail land requires a Permit to Enter from KiwiRail issued by our National Permit Office. Working near the rail network can be  dangerous and we are able to guide you to ensure activities are carried out safety.

In some locations overhead lines carry high voltage electrification. KiwiRail encourages developers to consider how extensions and new buildings can be constructed and maintained without people and/or their equipment entering the rail corridor and potentially coming into contact with lines, equipment or moving trains. KiwiRail encourages setting buildings back from the corridor to help mitigate this risk.     

Find out how to apply to enter KiwiRail’s land here.

Developing land near rail

Are you planning a development near rail land? You may require KiwiRail approval if it impacts our assets or operations. More information is on our page Developing land near rail.

Using and leasing our land

Are you interested in using or leasing our land? Please take a look at our page Using and leasing rail land.

Contact us

If you have questions or can’t find what you’re looking for, please contact us.