A Fire Risk Management Plan will be developed to mitigate the risk of fire to the satisfaction of GWRC and regulatory authorities.
It will take into account all developments on the railway and requires detailed logistical information for the railway operation.
Considerations that may be brought into the Fire Risk Management Plan include:
- Management factors, such as integration with other fire management plans that relate to the area; and coordination with emergency services. Operational changes might also be identified as appropriate responses to increasing fire risk levels that are issued by agencies during the warmer months of the year.
- Railway line factors, such as the planting of species that maintain damper soil conditions and minimise dry fuel loads that might otherwise be present along the line; identification of different areas according to fire risk and developing specific treatments accordingly; retaining and encouraging regrowth of wet forest and rainforest closer to the line to keep soil conditions damper; removing slashed vegetation when undertaking clearance works; and professional assessment of overhanging trees for potential fire risk.
- Rail vehicle and equipment factors, such as the code-compliance and efficiency of spark arrestors, firehole doors, dampers and ashpans – being the fuel, ash and exhaust openings associated with locomotive boilers; maintenance of wheelset bearings and brake equipment to avoid generating heat sources or sparks from running gear; equipping all locomotives and carriages with fire extinguishers; consideration of employing a follow-along rail inspection vehicle during high fire risk to travel a suitable distance behind each train to check for an extinguish fires that may result from locomotive emissions, rail vehicles or rubbish/cigarette butts thrown from carriages; and having adequate communication systems in place so that emergency services can be called out in the event of a fire.
- Access factors – provision of sufficient road access to the railway route, which will enable emergency services to access in the event of a fire (or to deal with other emergencies). Helicopter landing sites will be identified, constructed and maintained, in similar fashion to those located on the Rimutaka Hill Road, and preferably close to a river or other water source.
- Visitor and railway personnel factors – a non-smoking policy will be in place on RIRHT trains, and will be notified during passenger briefings and rigorously enforced. The briefing will also detail what actions passengers can take should they discover a fire. Crew will be trained to operate rail vehicles in a manner that minimises the risk of fire through efficient and effective firing techniques and maintenance procedures, and techniques of safely and swiftly extinguishing fires at first detection.