Safe railways for Australia

Private sidings (registration)


Under section 83 of the Rail Safety National Law (RSNL) a Rail Infrastructure Manager (RIM) of a private siding that is connected to or has access to a railway operated by an accredited Rail Transport Operator (RTO) must be registered to operate that siding, unless they are otherwise accredited or hold an exemption.

A person may be a registered RIM for multiple private sidings under their registration. However, an accredited RIM cannot also hold registration for a private siding as the siding will form part of the railway for which accreditation is held.

Registration enables the registered RTO to undertake railway operations associated with the management, maintenance and operation of railway infrastructure of the private sidings listed on their registration. The registered RIM is still required to manage, so far as is reasonably practicable, the risks to safety associated with their operations. Construction of new private sidings cannot occur until the siding is included in the scope of the RIM’s registration.

An RTO cannot undertake rolling stock operations unless they also hold accreditation for this purpose.

Applications for new registration, variation of registration or surrender of registration can be initiated through the following links:

A RIM intending to do any of the above is encouraged to contact ONRSR to discuss requirements prior to lodging the application (new or variation of registration) or notice of intention (surrender).

Application and annual fees are payable for registration. The Schedule of Fees provides further information on fees payable.

Registered persons are required to provide an Annual Activity Statement (AAS).

For all enquiries relating to the registration of private sidings, please contact operations@onrsr.com.au or phone 08 8406 1500.

What constitutes a private siding?

A private siding is a portion of railway track that is connected by points to a running line or another siding on which rolling stock can be placed clear of the running line, and is managed by a person other than the manager of the rail infrastructure that the siding connects with or has access to.

The RSNL defines the following as not being a private siding and are not eligible for registration (noting that the definitions provided below are used by ONRSR in applying the RSNL but are not included in the law):

  • A marshalling yard – being a yard consisting of a system of tracks, crossings, points etc., used for the purpose of receiving and dispatching trains, shunting and storing of wagons and marshalling wagons into trains;
  • A crossing loop – being a running line, secondary to the main line, with entry and exit points connected to the main line, provided primarily for the crossing or passing of trains;
  • A freight terminal – being a yard comprising a system of railway tracks within defined yard limits, used for the purpose of placing wagons for loading and unloading and for the delivery and receipt of freight or goods; and
  • A passenger terminal – being one or more tracks where passenger trains commence or terminate for passengers to board or alight and where servicing, provisioning and marshalling of passenger coaches into trains may occur.

Bulk handling facilities (for example, coal, grain and mineral facilities) are not considered to be a freight terminal, and therefore are normally considered to be a private siding, within the meaning above. This does not however preclude such facilities requiring accreditation should an assessment by ONRSR deem it appropriate.

Determining whether Registration is appropriate

The Regulator must be satisfied that the nature of the private siding is suited for the RIM to be registered or should be more appropriately subject to an accreditation requirement. To determine this, ONRSR will consider:

  • Whether the facility constitutes a marshalling yard, crossing loop, passenger terminal, freight terminal or a siding of a class prescribed by regulation not to be a private siding;
  • Activities to be undertaken and the scale and complexity of those activities having regard to the likelihood and/or consequence of possible incidents;
  • The risks involved to railway operations and other operations undertaken at the facility and the controls required to mitigate those risks;
  • Who controls the movement of trains on the railway/private siding and how these movements are controlled;
  • The number and extent of level crossings, public/private roads, overbridges or underbridges that cross the railway;
  • The length of any track from the interface with an accredited RIM or another private siding owner; and
  • The operating speed, the number and size of the trains operating on the section track for which there is an application for registration.

When considering complex operations involving interactions between multiple entities, ONRSR will also consider whether the scope of operations meets the requirements for registration, or whether an application for accreditation is more appropriate.

Related documents

Last updated: 11 May 2020