KiwiRail is cautious about offering a solution to a rickety bridge that carries a large proportion of the country's potatoes and carrots off the slopes below Mt Ruapehu.
The Ruapehu District Council says it is no longer safe to truck produce over the busy, but one-lane and century-old, Mangateitei rail overbridge near Ōhakune.
Locals, who said they had no choice but to break the weight limits on the old bridge, wanted a level crossing urgently put in instead.
KiwiRail was not keen.
"We are reluctant to add any further level crossings because of the danger of collisions," it said in a statement today.
"When a new crossing is requested or required on the network, KiwiRail's strong preference is for it to have the road running either above or below the track, by using a bridge or tunnel."
The option to replace the ageing bridge has hung up on the district council's so-far in-vain attempts to secure the Transport Agency's 75 percent subsidy.
"In all cases a new crossing - in whatever form - must meet all safety, technical, and railway operational requirements and legal requirements, and must not constrain the current and future use of the rail corridor for rail," KiwiRail said.
"We are happy to meet with the Ruapehu District Council to discuss possible solutions that do not lessen network safety."
Locals have also questioned whether water tankers could get across the old bridge if there was a house fire and a fire engine needed water.