The Rail Authority of New South Wales was established by the Transport Administration Amendment (Rail Agencies) Act 2003 (Act No 96, 2003). The agency was known as RailCorp. (1)
The main objectives of RailCorp were as follows:
(a) to deliver safe and reliable railway passenger services in New South Wales in an efficient, effective and financially responsible manner; and
(b) to ensure that the part of the NSW rail network vested in or owned by RailCorp enabled safe and reliable railway passenger and freight services to be provided in an efficient, effective and financially responsible manner.
The other objectives of RailCorp were:
(a) to maintain reasonable priority and certainty of access for railway passenger services;
(b) to promote and facilitate access to the part of the NSW Rail network vested in or owned by RailCorp;
(c) to be a successful business and, to that end:
(i) to operate at least as efficiently as any comparable business; and
(ii) to maximise the net worth of the State’s investment in the Corporation
(d) to exhibit a sense of social responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates;
(e) where its activities affect the environment, to conduct its operations in compliance with the principles of ecologically sustainable development as contained in the Protection of the Environment Administration Act, 1991;
(f) To exhibit a sense of responsibility towards regional development and decentralisation in the way in which it operates. (2)
The functions of Railcorp were as follows:
to continue to operate the railway passenger services operated by the State Rail Authority of New South Wales prior to the commencement of RailCorp. It was, however entitled to establish new services or discontinue existing ones. The operation of these rail services was regulated by the Rail Safety Act, 2002; (3)
to own, manage, maintain and establish rail infrastructure facilities; (4)
to provide access to those with access undertakings to the rail network; (5)
could operate other transport services (e.g. buses) in connection with its rail services; (6)
RailCorp could also:
(a) provide goods, services or facilities to the rail industry;
(b) act as an agent for, or provide services to another rail infrastructure owner or rail operator even if the services are not related to its principal functions;
(c) conduct any business which will further its objectives;
(d) provide services or facilities ancillary to its principal functions; and
(e) act as an agent for other rail agencies without obtaining their permission (except for the State Transit Authority: Roads and Traffic Authority or the Independent Transport Safety and Reliability Regulator). (7)
RailCorp could acquire land in accordance with its role and functions. (8)
RailCorp was a State Owned Corporation and as such the management and operating environment was regulated by the State Owned Corporations Act, 1989 (Act No.134, 1989). This included standards for financial and other reporting. The shares in RailCorp were vested in the Treasurer and another Minister. As a State Owned Corporation RailCorp received directions from the Minister for Transport Services. (9)
The Board of RailCorp, consisting of between three and seven Directors, was appointed by the voting shareholders. One of the Directors was selected on the recommendation of a Committee consisting of two persons nominated by the Minister and two nominated by the Labour Council of New South Wales. The Directors were selected because of their expertise in engineering and rail safety and other knowledge identified by the voting shareholders. The Chief Executive Officer was ex-officio a member of the Board. (10)
The Chief Executive Officer was elected by the Board and served for a maximum period of five years. The Board determined the salary, working conditions (other than those specified by law), and performance criteria of the incumbent. (11)
The foundation Charter of the Rail Corporation of New South Wales was set down in Division 5 of the Transport Administration Amendment (Rail Agencies) Act, 2003. The Charter excluded the portfolio Minister from nomination as a shareholder but the Minister was entitled to attend shareholder meetings, The Charter also set down the standards for and process of developing a Statement of Corporate intent that was required to be prepared at the beginning of each financial year. The Corporation was exempt from State taxes. The employees had the right to appeal to the Transport Appeals Boards on matters relating to their employment. (12)
The Rail Corporation of New South Wales commenced on 1 January 2004. During the first six months of operation the functions were gradually transferred from the State Rail Authority [II] and the Rail Infrastructure Corporation. (13)
From 1 July 2009 when the Ministry of Transport was abolished the Rail Corporation of New South Wales became a branch of the new Principal Department, the Department of Transport and Infrastructure. (14) The name of this department was changed to Transport NSW from 1 July 2010. (15)
From 4 April 2011 when the name of Transport NSW was changed the Rail Corporation of New South Wales became a branch of the Department of Transport. (16)
1. Transport Administration Amendment (Rail Agencies) Act 2003 Schedule 1  amending the principal act, Transport Administration Act 1988 (Act No.109, 1988); Proclamation under the Transport Administration Amendment (Rail Agencies) Act 2003 No 96 in NSW Government Gazette No.197, 19 December 2003, p.11271.
2. Transport Administration Amendment (Rail Agencies) Act 2003 s.5.
3. Ibid. s.6.
4. Ibid. s.7.
5. Ibid. s.8.
6. Ibid. s.9.
7. Ibid. s.10.
8. Ibid. s.11.
9. Ibid. s.4.
10. Ibid. s.13.
11. Ibid. s.14.
12. Ibid. s.17.
13. RailCorp website http://www.railcorp.nsw.gov.au/ (accessed 15 January 2004).
14. Public Sector Employment and Management (Departmental Amalgamations) Order 2009 (2009 No 352) cls. 34; notified on NSW Legislation website, 27 July 2009.
15.Transport Administration Amendment Act 2010 (Act No.31, 2010) Sch. 1.2  amending the Public Sector Employment and Management Act 2002 (Act No.43, 2002) Sch. 1; Commencement Proclamation (2010 No 294); notified on NSW Legislation website, 25 June 2010.
16. Public Sector Employment and Management (Departments) Order 2011 (2011 No 184) cls. 44; notified on NSW Legislation website, 3 April 2011.