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Report released on rail infrastructure review

Report released on rail infrastructure review

The Land Transport Safety Authority has welcomed the findings of the second stage of an independent interim review looking at New Zealand's rail infrastructure.

The review was commissioned from rail safety consultants Halliburton KBR to provide an independent assessment of infrastructure maintenance and management at Tranz Rail.

A report released today relates to the second stage of Halliburton's review, looking at codes and standards for the rail network, infrastructure-related incidents and whether the network is “fit for purpose”. A report on the review's first stage (released in June) looked at the issue of outsourcing railway infrastructure maintenance.

Director of Land Transport Safety David Wright said while the stage two report concludes that current procedures and management provide generally for the safe operation of the rail infrastructure and that Tranz Rail has made significant investment in recent year on the main routes, it also reveals that parts of the infrastructure are operating close to their practical limits and are not supported by appropriate systems.

The management of continuous welded rail and the overloading of coal wagons are two areas specified by the review where systems and processes can be improved.

"The findings and recommendations of this report are in line with issues we've raised with some aspects of Tranz Rail's operations, including concerns with continuous welded rail," Mr Wright said.

"We're working closely with Tranz Rail to ensure that the recommendations in this report are adopted and that action is taken. Our top priority is the safety of passengers and rail workers, and we will do everything in our power to ensure the network is safe."

Mr Wright said the initial Halliburton report pointed out the need for legislation which will provide the LTSA with greater regulatory powers and a more hands-on role in identifying risks and measuring safety.

"New rail safety legislation is currently being drafted, and this will be especially important as rail operations in New Zealand become more diverse and complex. This review has helped identify what needs to be done by all the parties involved to ensure that safety is maintained in this new operating environment."

To view the full text of stage two of the Halliburton KBR report on-line, go to http://www.ltsa.govt.nz/publications/rail.html

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