KiwiRail has a new policy coming down the track on private rail crossings and Federated Farmers is on board with it.
“We agree with KiwiRail that people’s safety is paramount and we appreciate they’ve listened to our views on the issues before introducing the changes,” Feds President Katie Milne says.
There are about 1300 private rail crossings along the rail network in New Zealand and it’s estimated that as many as 700 of them are unauthorised or undocumented.
The aim is to inspect every crossing every two years. The original idea of charging farmers with crossings on their land a set annual fee was ditched after consultation. Instead, most farmers will be charged only the actual cost of the inspection, which is likely to be between $50 and $100.
Farmers will be responsible for the cost of any work needed to make sure the crossing is safe to use, such as removal of vegetation for adequate sight lines and maintenance of the road/track surface.
“It’s good that KiwiRail will only charge actual costs and that KiwiRail is formalising farmer use of rail crossings, which provides farmers with some certainty they can continue to use them.
“However, there is a concern that some informal rail crossings will be closed because the safety concerns are considered insurmountable. That’s going to be difficult for farmers if that was their only route for accessing parts of their farm,” Katie says.
“Federated Farmers will continue working with KiwiRail on these safety and access issues going forward.”
Source: Federated Farmers