New Zealand Railways Corporation

From Academic Kids

The New Zealand Railways Corporation (NZRC), trading as ONTRACK, is a State-Owned Enterprise charged with owning and maintaining New Zealand's rail infrastructure.


New Zealand's rail operator: 1981 - 1990

The Corporation was created as a statutory Corporation by the NZ Railways Corporation Act 1981 from the old Railways Department. The Corporation was deemed to be a state enterprise under the State-Owned Enterprises Act 1986 for reporting and accountability purposes.

NZRC was the operator of New Zealand’s railways from its formation in 1981 until 1990. During this time the Corporation faced many tough challenges; such as the deregulation of the land transport industry 1982, and the resultant growth of competition from road freight operators. In 1984 international consultants Booz, Allen and Hamilton reported to the National government on how a viable rail network could be created. This prompted the Opposition Labour Party to launch a ‘Save Rail’ campaign. Despite this, rationalisation of the Corporation began with the election of a Labour government in mid 1984. Rationalisation cut right across the Corporation – staff cuts were drastic, with workshops closing. In 1985 the Corporation began a major restructuring programme, eliminating the old branch structure of its predecessor.

The Corporation then began to strip its assets. Speedlink Parcels, the Corporation’s parcel service, was sold to New Zealand Post; InterCity coaches (the long-distance part of the former Railways Road Services) was sold to a consortium headed by Guthrey’s Coachlines in 1991. Railway stations in Oamaru, Christchurch, Napier and Dunedin were also sold, along with substantail tracts of land previously used for rail operations.

Privatisation of the rail network: 1993 - 2004

New Zealand Rail Limited was established as a Crown Transferee Company under the provisions of the NZ Railways Corporation Restructuring Act 1990. NZ Rail Ltd took over the Corporation's rail-related assets and assumed ownership of the core business activities. All remaining non-core assets remained with the Corporation, which was separate from and independent of NZ Rail Limited. NZ Rail Limited was privatised in 1993. NZRC managed the lease of the rail corridor between Tranz Rail Ltd and the Crown until from 1993 until 2004, when the Crown entered into an arrangement to re-acquire New Zealand’s rail infrastructure from Toll New Zealand Ltd (Toll) (formerly Tranz Rail).

Renationalisation of the rail network 2004 -

From 1 July 2004, NZRC has assumed the Crown’s responsibilities under the access agreement with Toll and both owns and manages the rail infrastructure. NZRC also manages the upgrading of the Wellington Railway Station.

Areas of Operation

The Corporation has three main areas of operation:

  • It owns New Zealand's rail infrastructure. As owner, it provides rail operators, notably Toll NZ pursuant to its agreements with the Crown but also including other operators, with access to the rail network in return for the payment of track access charges. It is also responsible for the maintenance and development of the network.
  • It is the rail network controller, providing rail network control services such as train control and signalling.
  • It administers a substantial portfolio of land on behalf of the Crown, and derives income from leasing land and buildings on a commercial basis.

See Also

External links


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