Walking and Cycling Tracks

The principle use of the rail corridor is for the operation of trains, but the corridor is also used for a number of other purposes. We allow recreational activities on parts of the rail corridor as long as they don't affect rail operations.

There are walking and cycling tracks on both operating and inactive rail corridors.

Our main aim is to keep train operators, passengers, and walkers and cyclists safe while using the rail corridor as safety is a top priority.

If you wish to establish a walking or cycling route on railway land, applications will be assessed on the following criteria.

Criteria for operating rail corridors

For operational corridors, we evaluate applications for walking and cycling access on a case-by-case basis. Any applicants interested in establishing a public pathway on the operational railway please contact cycleways@kiwirail.co.nz

General criteria

  • Safety - we must take all practicable steps to ensure that no rail activities for which we are responsible causes injury or death
  • Commercial operation of rail - we must retain the ability to maintain the rail track and to provide access to the track for train operators
  • Space - the width of the railway corridor can vary and even in a wide corridor there can be ‘pinch points' that may make recreational activities impossible
  • Future-proofing the corridor - some rail corridors are likely to see increased rail activity in the future - such activities require additional space in the corridor and may limit recreational activities.


Specific criteria

  • Clearance - there must be a six metre clearance between the centreline of the rail track and a cycleway or walkway, one side for single track, both sides for double track.
  • Cycleways and walkways must be fenced off from the rail track.
  • Access to bridges and tunnels is restricted - no walkway or cycleway can be accommodated in a tunnel due to insufficient safety clearance.
  • In some locations easements already exist where utility services have been laid. The current and future needs of utilities need to be considered.
  • Consultation with adjacent property owners, utility companies and residents is likely to be required.

Criteria for closed or inactive rail corridors

For closed or inactive rail corridors, a number of factors are considered before a recreational activity is approved. These include:

  • potential future rail use of the corridor
  • ease of access and safety
  • claims by other users and possible owners, such as adjacent land users or Treaty of Waitangi claimants.


We do not generally fund recreational services on the rail corridor. Potential recreational users would need to be able to fund and maintain their facility, including fencing.

Successful applications

If an application is successful we will issue a Licence to Occupy, which gives the applicant the right to construct a walkway or cycleway to specifications.Contact us about cycling or walking access.
To place a walking and cycling activity in the rail corridor applications should be made to: