Community group's guide to working in the rail corridor

This page gives guidance to individuals or community groups interested in beautification work within the rail corridor (boundary to boundary). It is not intended to be used by contractors undertaking work on behalf of KiwiRail or a third party.

KiwiRail supports and partners with local community-led initiatives to improve the rail corridor and surrounding environment. To protect our rail operations, our people and community groups, KiwiRail must ensure that all activity is undertaken safely.

The purpose of the rail corridor (boundary to boundary) is to allow safe movement of rail services. The following is a general guide to what is permissible in the rail corridor and explains how to obtain the necessary approvals to conduct activities safely.

The rules of rail

Under section 73 of the Railways Act 2005 any “person entering railway land must have the express authority of the railway access provider”.  KiwiRail is the ‘railway access provider’.

To work within the boundaries of the rail corridor a Permit to Enter (PTE) must be applied for and granted.

To apply for a PTE you must:

1. Complete a Corridor Access Request (CAR) form  here

2. Accompany the CAR form with a safety plan that relates to the proposed activity (KiwiRail can supply a safety plan template on request)

3. Submit  the CAR form and safety plan to the Permits Office for approval at  (Note you must allow up to 30 working days for the application to be approved)

What activities can be permitted within the rail corridor?

Due to the risk of trains, rail vehicles and in some places overhead power lines, KiwiRail has a strict policy regarding how close an individual or group can come to the track and/or the overhead wires. This is called an ‘approach distance’.  These approach distances must be observed and included within the safety planning of any activity within the rail corridor:

1. Works and workers must be kept a minimum of 5m from any railway track.  A safety fence or similar delineation must be provided to ensure nobody accesses closer than 5m to the track.  See below example marked Figure 1.

2. Crossing the railway track is only permitted at approved crossing points (for example a level or pedestrian crossing).

3. If an individual or group is required to cross the tracks for the purposes of their activity (other than at a level or pedestrian crossing) a Rail Protection Officer (RPO) will need to be provided by KiwiRail. The cost of a RPO is $150.00 per hour* (further cost details can be found here )

4. Only hand held, non-mechanical tools (for example paint brushes, paint rollers, shovels etc) may be used next to the railway. These items must be carried at waist height and not over the shoulder.

5. If machinery is required for the activity a higher level of safety is required.  Please speak to KiwiRail about this.



6. No access to any railway bridge or tunnel is permitted.

7. All waste, rubbish and debris associated with any beautification work must be removed.

What training do I need to work within the rail corridor?

Everyone working within the rail corridor requires a KiwiRail safety induction as a minimum standard of protection.  KiwiRail can supply the induction material so you can run the induction locally or alternatively we will provide you with a link to the material electronically. The induction will take about one hour and provides a basic introduction to rail safety. 

EVERYONE entering the rail corridor for the activity must complete the online induction.

If the activity is in an area where there are overhead traction power lines you must also obtain KiwiRail’s Electrification Awareness Training (EA Training).  Areas with railway overhead power are: 

  • Auckland Metro area
  • Hamilton to Palmerston North
  • Waikanae to Wellington and 
  • Upper Hutt to Wellington.

EA Training must be completed by a KiwiRail trainer and generally takes place at a KiwiRail training site.

There may be a cost associated with this training.

Can I get protection training so I can work closer than 5m to the track?

No. As a voluntary group this is not an option due to the risks involved. 

KiwiRail has strict rules regarding access closer than 5m to the rail corridor; these rules include achieving a certain medical standard. If the need arises to access the track, the RPO process should be followed (as described above*)

What are the costs associated with a PTE?

The cost of a PTE is $265.00.

If the activity benefits the wider community or KiwiRail, consideration can be given to reduce or waive this fee. Please speak with the Permits Team about the fee.

However any costs incurred by KiwiRail relating to the activity may need to be passed back to the originator.  These costs are likely to be:

  • Provision of a RPO*
  • Any training required (EA Training)
  • Supply of materials or 
  • Following up any incident relating to the activity.


Permits Office: (09) 2705426


Hours: Monday – Friday 07.30 – 1600