Buying property near rail

If you want to buy property near the railway there are a few things you need to know.


Check the property boundaries and make sure:

  • Fences align with the boundary
  • Buildings or other structures are within your property boundary.

Some buildings are within railway land because a previous owner may have shifted fences. Your local council can let you know.

Although you are not required to fence the boundary with railway land, you should erect and maintain a fence if:

  • You have children
  • You have pets
  • You are a farmer (farmers are required by law to prevent stock entering the railway corridor).

Under the Fencing Act 1978 KiwiRail is not required to contribute to the costs of erecting or maintaining fences within the rail corridor. This is similar to councils that have road frontages.


You require a Licence to Occupy for any building or structures partially on our land (encroachment), or any land occupation. However you need to know:

  • It is a temporary right only
  • Any new structures or buildings need to be re-locatable
  • If we require the use of the land, we can withdraw the Licence to Occupy and require all structures or fences to be removed.


Depending on where you live, operating a railway is a noisy business. Noise and disturbance can come from:

Private level crossings

If you buy a property with a private level crossing across our tracks you need to know:

  • You must apply for a Grant of Right to legally use the crossing, even if the previous owner had one.
  • We can terminate a Grant of Right with three months' notice if the crossing needs to be closed due to safety issues.
  • A Grant of Right does not give you permanent access to your property, you should check if there is an alternative vehicular access to the property. If not, consider whether one could be created by negotiating with neighbouring property owners.
  • If you want to subdivide but access is only over the private level crossing, you need to apply to your council for a resource consent. Please contact us to discuss any subdivision plans as early as possible as we have a policy to minimise the number of private level crossings.
  • If you want to use the crossing for commercial access you need to apply for a new Grant, as not all crossings are designed for heavy vehicles.
  • Safety and the management of the crossing is a joint responsibility between KiwiRail and the Grantee. We will ensure it is safe to use, but you need to make sure you and people you invite to use it, use it in a safe way – including putting up signs.
  • As the Grantee you need to meet the costs of maintaining the crossing places. This is because KiwiRail receives no benefit from the crossing. Each private crossing increases the safety risk to trains if not maintained.

If you require advice about your Grant of Right:

  • E-mail: (“Attention Grants Team” in the subject line)
  • Phone: 0800 801 070
  • Fax: 04 473 1589 (“Attention Grants Team” in the subject line)
  • Post: Wellington Railway Station, PO Box 593, Wellington 6140 (“Attention Grants Team")