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Tranz Rail Network “Fit for Purpose”


Tranz Rail Network “Fit for Purpose”

Tranz Rail has welcomed the findings of an independent review of the maintenance and management of New Zealand's rail infrastructure.

The Halliburton KR Report found that Tranz Rail’s network was “fit for purpose” and that the Company’s asset replacement programme “appears to be providing an overall improvement in the average age and condition of assets and of the network generally.”

Tranz Rail Managing Director Michael Beard said those findings were consistent with Tranz Rail’s view of the network.

The review by international rail safety experts Halliburton KBR was jointly commissioned by Tranz Rail and the Land Transport Safety Authority (LTSA) in order to obtain an independent and authoritative view on infrastructure management at Tranz Rail.

However, while finding the network “generally fit for purpose” the report also found that some parts of the infrastructure lacked the support of appropriate systems and were operating close to their practical limits. Specific areas identified where safety can be improved include management of continuous welded rail and the overloading of coal wagons.

Mr Beard said Tranz Rail accepted further improvements could be made and would work closely with the LTSA to see that the recommendations in this report are implemented. He said work was already underway in some areas.

"The review identified systems and processes that can be further improved and that is where our focus now lies," Mr Beard said.

"Many of the current safety systems, operating agreements and auditing processes were put in place either when Tranz Rail took ownership of the network in 1993 or they are a number of years old. Halliburton has taken a fresh look at those systems and recommended they be strengthened and improved.

“Some of those are already being actioned, for example in the past six months we have dedicated nine teams and purchased specialist measuring equipment to address the issues surrounding continuously welded rail. We'll continue to work with the LTSA to make improvements.”

He said that Tranz Rail regarded the Halliburton review as a timely assessment of the broader safety issues and risks in a changing rail environment in New Zealand, and believes it will be invaluable in helping to draft new legislation for the rail industry.

The report has recommended that legislation be amended to give the LTSA stronger regulatory powers, especially in the area of auditing, and a more proactive role in measuring safety performance and identifying emerging risks.

Mr Beard said Tranz Rail agreed with that proactive focus.

“At the moment the report notes there is a narrow, prescriptive viewpoint for the codes and standards we work under and we have long supported the view that the codes should be more outcome based and focused on managing overall risks instead of defining processes.”


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