Southern Railway zone

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Coordinates: 13°04′57″N 80°16′37″E / 13.08240°N 80.27705°E / 13.08240; 80.27705

Southern Railway
Southern Railway-7
Southern Railway HQ.jpg
Locale Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Puducherry
Dates of operation 1951-present–
Predecessor South Indian Railway, Madras and Southern Maratha
Track gauge Broad gauge and Meter gauge
Electrification Yes
Length 5,098 kilometres (3,168 mi)
Headquarters Chennai Central
Website SR official website

The Southern Railway, headquartered at Chennai, Tamil Nadu, is one of the 17 zones of Indian Railways. It is the earliest of the 17 zones of the Indian Railways created in independent India. It was created on 14 April 1951 by merging three state railways, namely, the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway, the South Indian Railway Company, and the Mysore State Railway. The South Indian Railway was originally created in the British colonial times as Great Southern India Railway Co. founded in Britain in 1853 and registered in 1859. Its original headquarters was in Tiruchirappalli (Trichy) and was registered as a company in London only in 1890.[1]

Southern Railway Divisions[edit]

  • Chennai
  • Tiruchirappalli
  • Madurai
  • Salem
  • Thiruvananthapuram
  • Palakkad

Southern Railway has its headquarters in Chennai and has the following six divisions: Chennai, Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Salem, Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram. It covers the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry and small portions of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. More than 500 million passengers travel on the network every year. This zone of the Indian Railways differs from the other zones of India in that its revenue is derived from passengers and not from freight.[2]

Chennai Central, Coimbatore Junction, Chennai Egmore, Thiruvananthapuram Central, Madurai Junction, Ernakulam Junction, Erode Junction, Tirunelveli Junction, Tiruchirappalli Junction, Salem Junction, Kollam Junction, , Palakkad Junction, Katpadi Junction and Shoranur Junction are some of the important stations under Southern Railway Division. Chennai Central station handles more than a million passengers every day. Many of the major stations are being upgraded to world-class standards.

Organization Structure[edit]

The Southern Railway is headed by the General Manager(HAG+) Officer,assisted by an Additional General Manager(HAG).Each department is headed by a PHOD\CHOD of the rank of HAG\SAG.


The Dawn of a New Era[edit]

Loud cheers rent the air as the horseless carriage, set out on its maiden journey from Stockton, England. It was September 27, 1825. There was a sense of anticipation and thrill. Gendemen in top hats and fashionable coats, ladies in their pretty gowns, and well-dressed children looked expectantly as the first railway in the world, designed for locomotives set out to Darlington at a speed of 12–16 miles an hour. Designed by George Stephenson, the locomotive weighed eight tons and ran on malleable iron - more suitable for locomotives than the cast-iron rails used for the more crude tramways.

It took almost 28 Years for Railways to puff into India[edit]

It was in 1853 that the first chapter was written in the history of Railways, by Robert Stephenson (the son of George Stephenson). The historic journey between Bombay and Thane ushered in the transport revolution in India.

Three years later, it was time for another historic journey, this time in the Southern Peninsula. On the 28th of May 1856, the steam wonder set out on a 65-mile journey between Royapuram and Wallajah Road, or Arcot as it was then known. Thousands of people watched with bated breath history being created. In their eyes was hope for tomorrow. The vision of a progressive future. The dreams of development... all ushered in by one small journey, a Journey, which was the first step towards hundreds and thousands of future journeys.

As more historic journeys were undertaken, as milestone after milestone was steadily reached and as the success story unfolded, an integrated transport infrastructure gradually took shape. And dreams were transformed into happy reality...'''''''''''

Madras & southern Maharatta Railway[edit]

The Madras Railway Company, the pioneer who brought the wonder to the part of the sub-continent, commenced its operations with the opening of the Royapuram-Wallajah Road in 1856. The Madras Railway Company had gone up to Kadalundi in 1861 and Calicut in 1888. The Jolarpet-Bangalore cantonment section opened in 1864, went up to Bangalore City in 1882, By 1862 the Railway extended up to Renigunta and the line was further extended in stages up to Raichur by 1871. From 1 January 1901, the Madras Railway Co., took over the East Coast State Railway, which had opened the line from Rajamundry to Waltair and Bezwada to Kovvur in 1893.Meanwhile the southern Maharatta Railway company, working under a contract since 1882 with its headquarters at Dharwar, started with the opening of Hospet to Bellary and Gadag to Hotgi section in 1884. The Southern Mahratta Railway constructed and worked most of the M.G. portion in addition to working for the West of India Portuguese Railway. The section in Goa terminating in Mormgao was opened for traffic in 1888. By the end of 1890, the Southern Mahratta Railway extended from Poona to Mysore (via-Bangalore) and from Bezwada to Mormagao.

On 1.1.1908, the Madras Railway Company and the Southern Mahratta Railway Company came together to form the Madras and the Southern Mahratta Railway Company.

The South Indian Railway[edit]

The "Great Southern of India Railway", opened its first line for traffic between Nagapatnam and Tanjore, in 1861 and extended it up to Trichirapalli in March 1862. It was subsequently linked to the Madras-Beypore line via-Erode. On 01.7.1874, the Great Southern of India Railway amalgamated with the Carnatic Railway Company giving birth to the South Indian Railway Company.

The newly formed South Indian Railway, with its headquarters in Tiruchirapalli, progressed rapidly and by the end of 1880, the South Indian Railway Company had constructed the line from Madras to Tuticorin,[3] a distance of 444 miles with branch lines from Trichinopoly to Erode, Chingleput to Arakkonam, Tanjore to Negapatnam, Maniyachi to Tirunelveli and Villupuram to Gingee river. The South Indian Railway was purchased by the State and handed over together with the Villupufam-Guntakal State Railway to a new company - the South Indian Railway Company Limited on 01-1-1891.

The section from Dharmavaram to Guntakal was handed over to the Southern Mahratta Railway Company in-1893. The South Indian Railway Company haded over to the amalgamated Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway Company, the metre gaugtyrrtre lines from Katpadi to Dharmavaram and from Pakala to Gudur while retaining running power over the Broadgauge section from Madras to Bangalore.

The Mysore State Railway[edit]

The Mysore State Railway dated back to 1912 when the Mpore-Arasikere (M.G.) section was opened. On 1 October 1919 the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway Company handed over to the Mysore Durbar the metre gauge sections of Bangalore - Mysore - Nanjangud and Birur - Shimoga. The Chickjajur-Chitaldrug section was opened on 1 July 1921. On 1 January 1938 the metre gauge lines from Bangalore - Harihar and from Yeshwantpur - Hindupur were handed over to Mysore State Railway.

Each of thees three Railway had a distinctive rote to play. The Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway covered both the states of Madras and Bombay and brought them together, in addition to serving as the artery between the North and South of India. The Mysore State Railway bridged the gap left by the Madras and Southern Railway between Madras and Bombay states. The South Indian Railway brought the states of Madras and Travancore - Cochin together.

Formation of Southern Railway zone[edit]

In 1944, all Company Railways were taken over by the Government. And three years later, when India woke up to independence in 1947, the stage was set for the integration of different Railways into smaller zones. In 1948, immediately after independence, there were as many as 42 different railway systems - a multiplicity of railway administrations, varying in size and standards.

The regrouping proposals put forward by the various committees were studied in great detail to ensure that a unification could be achieved with the least disturbance and dislocation. Important associations of railway-users, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the State Governments and acknowledged experts both in India and abroad were fully consulted.

Shri N. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar - the then Minister for Railways, was the principal architect of the regrouping of Indian Railways. In December 1950, the Central Advisory Committee for Railways approved the plan for Indian Railways into six Zonal systems, namely, the Northern, the North-Eastern, lie Southern, the Central, the Eastern and the Western,

The Southern Railway zone (9,654 route km) was the first zone to be formed. Created on April 14.1951 by the merger of the Madras and Southern Mahratta, the South Indian and The Mysore State Railway, the economic and geographical factors of this zone facilitated an early integrated network. This amalgamation was a major step towards streamlining and organizing the working pattern of the Railway system.

Shri. K.R. Ramanujam was the first General Manager of the newly formed Southern Railway.

Timeline and key events[edit]

  • 1845 Madras Railway Company was launched.
  • 1853 Madras Railway Company, registered in Chennai (Royapuram) began work.
  • 1856 First passenger rail service began in Royapuram - Walaja Road route. Perambur loco workshop set up in Vaughan.
  • 1857: Walaja road - cuddalore route was proposed via : Katpadi, Tiruvannamalai, Tirukovilur .
  • 1861: Beypore - Tirur (Kozhikode) route commissioned . Great Southern Railway of India Tiruchirappalli - Nagapattinam (broad gauge) up to 125 km from the gauge set. Walaja road - Cuddalore route was came to existence via : Tiruvannamalai, Villupuram .
  • 1862: Madras Railway Company's Tram way for local transport established in Chennai.
  • 1864: Jolarpettai- Bangalore mail began service.
  • 1868: Service began in Nagapattinam - Tiruchirappalli.
  • 1874: Great Southern Railway of India(SIR) renamed to South Indian Railway
  • 1875: Nagapattinam - Tiruchirappalli conversion to meter gauge.
  • 1879: Meter gauge line between Pondicherry and Villupuram formed according to an agreement between French Government and the British Government.
  • 1891: Nilgiri mountain railway was commissioned.
  • 1898: Mettupalayam(Coimbatore) - Coonoor service of Nilgiri mountain railway began. Olavakkode - Palakkad line constructed.
  • 1898: Meter gauge line between Karaikal and Peralam formed according to an agreement between French Government and the British Government
  • 1899: Chennai-Vijayawada passenger service began. Boat Mail from Chennai to Ceylon, with passenger ship with a connecting service between danushkodi(rameshwaram) and Ceylon started.
  • 1902: Kochi - Shornur path was set up.
  • 1904: Kollam/Quilon - Sengottai line was constructed.
  • 1907: Mangalore - Kozhikode line was constructed.
  • 1908: Chennai Egmore Railway Station was built.
  • 1918: Kollam/Quilon - Thiruvananthapuram line was built.
  • 1927: Shornur - Nilambur line constructed.
  • 1929: Chennai suburban railway service began.
  • 1931: Chennai Beach to Tambaram meter gauge electric train service started.
  • 1934: Cochin - Shornur gauge conversion.
  • 1951: Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway, the South Indian Railway Company, and the Mysore State Railwa were united to form a new zone of the Southern Railway.
  • 24-12-1952 Ernakulam - Quilon MG line - turning of first sod by Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India
  • 16-05-1956 Formation of Divisions in Southern Railway
  • 23-08-1957 Opening of Renigunta - Gudur broad gauge section
  • 00-01-1958 Opening of Ernakulam - Quilon metre gauge line
  • 00-00-1958 Establishment of S & T workshop Podanur
  • 00-01-1965 Conversion of DC 1500 V electrified system to 25 KV AC system from Madras Beach to Tambaram
  • 02-10-1966 Creation of South-Central Railway and handing over of Bezwada, GuntaKal and Hubli Divisions to SC Railway
  • 23-11-1975 Broadguage converation of Ernakulam - Quilon MG section
  • 13-09-1976 Inauguration of Trivandrum - Ernakulam BG section
  • 00-00-1976 Tamil Nadu Express from New Delhi - Chennai Central started its operation.
  • 15-07-1977 A train woke up the people of Madurai early in the morning. It was on that day at 6 a.m. sharp that train no.135 down Vaigai Express began its inaugural journey from Madurai to Madras Egmore, with 16 yellow and green livery coaches and a matching YDM4 diesel loco, average Speed Of 70 Kmph was recorded.
  • 13-04-1979 Electrification of Madras - Gummidipundi section
  • 20-05-1979 Inauguration of Mangalore - Hassan MG line
  • 09-08-1979 Electrification-of Madras Beach - Korukkupet - Madras Central
  • 02-10-1979 Creation of Trivandrum Division
  • 29-11-1979 Electrification Madras - Trivellore section
  • 27-07-1981 Creation of Bangalore Division
  • 03-09-1982 Electrification of Trivellore - Arakkonam section
  • 11-08-1984 Electrified train services Between Madras - Katpadi
  • 00-00-1984 Vaigai Express was bifurcated into Vaigai and Pallavan Express.
  • 00-00-1985 Phasing out BG Steam locomotives
  • 14-04-1987 Inauguration of EMU service Madras - Avadi
  • 25-07-1987 First solid state interlocking in Indian Railways at Srirangam Station
  • 02-10-1987 Introduction of Computerized Passenger Reservation
  • 06-08-1988 Inauguration of Karur - Dindigul BG line
  • 15-10-1989 Opening of Ernakulam – Aleppey BG line
  • 16-09-1991 Inauguration of MRTS project between Madras Beach - Park Town
  • 01-11-1992 Introduction of first Rajdhani Express in Southern Railway between Bangalore - Nizamuddin
  • 20-11-1992 Inauguration of Alleppey - Kayankulam BG line
  • 00-03-1992 Electrification of Jolarpettai - Bangalore section
  • 16-04-1993 Opening of Bangalore - Mysore BG line
  • 21-10-1993 Inauguration of Karur - Dindigul - Madurai - Tuticorin BG project
  • 09-05-1994 Introduction of first Shatabdi Express between Madras – Mysore
  • 31-08-1994 Inauguration of Chickjajur - Chitradrug - Rayadrug BG line
  • 02-04-1995 Inauguration of Madras Beach- Tambaram BG line
  • 11-01-1997 Opening of Salem - Bangalore BG line
  • 19-10-1997 Inauguration of MRTS project between Madras Beach - Thirumayilai
  • 22-08-1998 Inauguration of Tambaram - Tiruchirappalli(chord line) and Tiruchirapalli - Thanjavur opened after gauge conversion.
  • 06-01-1999 Opening of Tiruchirappalli - Dindigul BG line
  • 15-06-1999 Centenary Celebrations of Nilgiri Mountain Railway
  • 23-07-2000 Inauguration of Electric traction between Trichur - Ernakulam
  • 13-10-2000 Opening of 100th Computerised Passenger Reservation Centre at Kovilpatti
  • 30-10-2000 Commissioning of optical fibre communication link between Villupuram-Trichy
  • 22-11-2000 Inauguration of new BG line between Penukonda and Puttaparthi
  • 2002: Southern Railway, Bangalore and Mysore divisions separated to form the South Western Railway. Ernakulam, Thrissur electrified.
  • 2004: Flying train of MRTS started service from Mylapore to Thiruvanmiyur in Chennai .
  • 2005: The Nilgiri Mountain train declared as one of the UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • 2006: Villupuram - Mayiladuthurai (main line) gauge conversions started.
  • 2007: First movement on Pamban bridge after broad gauge conversion.
  • 2010: Villupuram - Mayiladuthurai (main line) services started.
  • 2011: Sengottai - Punalur gauge conversion began.
  • 2011: Madurai - Bodinayakkanur gauge conversion began.
  • 2012: Thiruvarur - Pattukottai gauge conversion began.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway working under Southern Railway zone, Chennai . and also it is UNESCO World Heritage site

Trains of Southern Railway[edit]

Ongoing Railway Projects[edit]

New Line[edit]

Year Name of the Project (s) State Length in Km
1997-98 Angamaly-Erumeli Sabari Line Kerala --
2008-09 Attipattu-Puttur Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh 88.3
2008-09 Chennai-Cuddalore via Mahabalipuram Tamil Nadu & Puducherry 179.28
2008-09 Erode-Palani Tamil Nadu 91.05
2006-07 Tindivanam-Gingee-Tiruvannamalai Tamil Nadu 70
2006-07 Tindivanam-Nagari Tamil Nadu & Andhra Pradesh 179.2

Gauge Conversion[edit]

Year Name of the Project (s) State Length in Km
2002-03 Kollam-Punalur-Edamon-Chenkotta TN & KL 85
2006-07 Dindigul-Pollachi-Palghat & Pollachi-Coimbatore TN & KL 224.88
2008-09 Madurai-Bodinayakkanur Tamil Nadu 90.41
2007-08 Mayiladuturai-Karaikudi &Tiruturaipundi-Agastiyampalli Tamil Nadu 224


Year Name of the Project (s) State Length in Km
2007-08 Ambalapuzha-Haripad Kerala 18.13
1999-00 Attipattu-Korukkupettai Tamil Nadu 18
2006-07 Chengalpattu-Villupuram -Tiruvannamalai Tamil Nadu 103
2006-07 Chenganur-Chingavanam Kerala 26.5
2003-04 Chennai Beach-Attipattu 4th line Tamil Nadu 22.1
2003-04 Chennai Beach-Korukkupet Tamil Nadu 4.1
2003-04 Cheppad-Haripad patch doubling Kerala 5.28
2003-04 Cheppad-Kayankulam Kerala 7.76
2006-07 Kankanadi-Panamburu Patch Doubling Karnataka 19
2007-08 Kurruppantara-Chengavannam Kerala 26.58
2003-04 Mavelikara-Chengannur Kerala 12.3
2003-04 Mavelikara-Kayankulam Kerala 7.89
2005-06 Mullanturutti-Kuruppantara Kerala 24
2008-09 Tiruvallur-Arakkonam 4th line Tamil Nadu 26.83
2008-09 Villupuram-Dindigul Tamil Nadu 273

List of surveys done since Independence[edit]

Route State Length in Km
Nanjangud-Nilambur via Sultan Bathery Karnataka, Kerala, 238
Angadippuram-Kozhikode via Malappuram Kerela 78
Bulb rail line at Shoranur Kerela 5
Sabrimala-Chengannur Kerela 64
Erumeli-Punalur- Trivandrum Kerela 136
Idappalli - Tirur Kerela 77
Kanjangad-Panathur Kerela 41
Kayankulam-Trivandrum via Adoor and Kottarakkara Kerela 103
Nilambur Road - Feroke via Manjeri and Mavur Kerela 69
Thakazhi-Tiruvalla - Pathanamthitta Kerela 50
Tirur-Angadipuram Kerela 41
Vaikam-Vaikam Road Kerela 10
Nanjangud - Badagara via Vyitri,Poozhi,Hithod Kerela, Karnataka 230
Madurai-Kottayam Kerela, Tamil Nadu 234
Sabarimala to Dindigul Kerela, Tamil Nadu 201
Arakkonam to Tindivanam via Walajapet, Ranipet and Arcot Tamil Nadu 96
Avadi-Sriperumpudur Tamil Nadu 25
Chennai-Sriperumbudur via Poonamalli Tamil Nadu 38
Chidambaram-Attur via Ariyalur, Perambalur Tamil Nadu 167
Dindigul-Gudalur Tamil Nadu 131
Dindigul-Kumuli (lower camp) Tamil Nadu 134
Erode to Satyamanglam Tamil Nadu 63
Jolarpettai-Hossur via Krishnagiri Tamil Nadu 101
Katpadi-Chennai via Guindy-Poonamallee Tamil Nadu 212
Kumbakonam - Namakkal Tamil Nadu 178
Madurai-Karaikkudi va Melur,Tiruppattur Tamil Nadu 91
Madurai-Tuticorin Tamil Nadu 144
Mailaduturai-Tirukkaidaiyar-Taramgambadi-Tirunallar-Karaikal Tamil Nadu 47
Manamadurai - Tuticorin Tamil Nadu 126
Morappur-Dharmapuri via Mukkanur Tamil Nadu 36
Needmangalam-Pattukottai via Mannargudi, Madukkur Tamil Nadu 54
Rameshwaram-Dhanuskodi Tamil Nadu 17
Satyamangalam- Mettur Tamil Nadu 90
Thanjavur-Chennai Egmore via Ariyalur Tamil Nadu 315
Thanjavur-Pudukkottai Tamil Nadu 47
Tindivanam to Cuddalore via Pondichery Tamil Nadu 77
Tiruvannamalai-Jolarpettai Tamil Nadu 85
Villivakkam-Katpadi Tamil Nadu 153
Mettur - Chamarajnagar Tamil Nadu, Karnataka 182
Kollengode-Trichur Tamil Nadu, Kerala 59

Units of Southern Railway[edit]

Southern Railway has many factories & sheds:

  • Mechanical Workshps
  • Electrical & Communication
    • Southern Railway Signal & Telecom Workshop, Podanur, Coimbatore
  • Sheds
    • Locomotive Sheds
    • MEMU Car Shed
    • EMU Car Shed
      • EMU Car Shed, Chennai
      • EMU Car Shed, Kochi
    • BG Coaching Maintenance Depots
      • Basin Bridge, Chennai
      • Egmore, Chennai
      • Madurai
      • Salem
      • Erode
      • Coimbatore
      • Mettupalayam
      • Shoranur
      • Mangalore
      • Trivandrum
      • Ernakulam
      • Kollam
      • Tirunelveli
      • Nagercoil
      • Rameswaram
      • Tuticorin
      • Tiruchirapalli
      • Villupuram
    • Wagon Maintenance Depots
      • Tondiarpet, Chennai
      • Egmore, Chennai
      • Madurai
      • Jolarpettai
      • Kochi Harbour
      • Arakkonam
      • Royapuram, Chennai
      • Pattibiram Military Siding
      • Erode
      • Kankanadu
      • Ernakulam
      • Milavattan
      • Irumpanam
      • Tiruchirapalli
      • [villupuram]
      • Uthagamandalam
  • Printing Presses
    • General Printing Press, Royapuram, Chennai
    • Ticket Printing Factory, Thiruvanthapuram,
    • Ticket Printing Factory, Tiruchirappalli

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Origins of Southern Railway". Retrieved 17 Jul 2008. 
  2. ^ "Southern Railways revenue generation mode". Retrieved 17 Jul 2008. 
  3. ^ "Chugging into the past". The Hindu, 18 December 2004. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 

External links[edit]