Chennai Central–Bangalore City line

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Chennai Central–Bangalore City line
Status Operational
Locale Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka
Termini Chennai Central
Bangalore City
Opened 1864
Owner Indian Railway
Operator(s) Southern Railway, South Western Railway
Depot(s) Avadi, Arakkonam, Krishnarajapuram, Bangalore Cantonment, Bangalore City
Rolling stock WAP-1, WAP-4, WAM-4, WAP-7 and WAG-5 electric locos; WDS-6, WDM-2, WDM-3A, WDP-4, WDG-3A, WDG-4 and WDS-4 diesel locos
Track length Main line:358 km (222 mi)
Branch lines:
Bangarpet-Kolar-Baiyappanhalli 166 km (103 mi)
Bangarpet-Marikuppam16 km (10 mi)
Track gauge 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge
Operating speed Up to 130 km/h
Highest elevation Bangalore City 903 metres (2,963 ft)
Route map
Chennai-Bangalore route map

The Chennai Central–Bangalore City line (popularly known as Chennai-Bangalore line) connects the main railway stations in two of the larger cities in India - Chennai Central in Tamil Nadu and Bangalore City in Karnataka.


The first train service in southern India and the third in India was operated by Madras Railway from Royapuram / Veyasarapady to Wallajah Road (Arcot) in 1856. Madras Railway extended its trunk route to Beypur / Kadalundi (near Calicut) in 1861. Madras Railway connected Bangalore Cantonment to Jolarpettai on the newly constructed Beypur line in 1864. Bangalore Mail started running the same year.[1] Bangalore City was linked to Bangalore Cantonment in 1882.[2]

The 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) wide narrow gauge line between Bowringpet (later Bangarpet) and Kolar was opened in 1913 by Mysore State Railway. The narrow gauge Yeshvantapur-Devanhalli-Chikballapur line was opened in 1915 and was linked to Bangalore in 1918.[3]

With the completion of the gauge conversion to broad gauge of the Chikballapur-Kolar section in November 2013, the entire Bangalore-Kolar section was ready for direct broad gauge trains. The gauge conversion took about 7 years.[4][5]

Gauge conversion of the Bangarpet-Kolar line was completed in 1997 and since then it has been serviced by a railbus.[6]

The 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) wide broad gauge Bangarpet-Marikuppam line came up in 1894.[7]

Chennai suburban services[edit]

EMU trains are operated between Chennai Central and Arakkonam via West Line. It covers the distance of 68 km (42 mi) with 27 halts in a scheduled time of 1 hour 50 mins.[8] As of 2005, 200,000 passengers daily used the EMU services in this sector.[9]


The Chennai-Trivellur sector was electrified in 1979-80, the Trivellur-Arakkonam-Chitteri sector in 1982-83, the Chitteri-Walajah Road (excl) sector in 1983-84, theWallajah Road-Katpadi sector in 1984-85, the Katpadi-Jolerapettai sector in 1985-86, the Jolerapettai-Mulanur sector in 1990-91, the Mulanur-Bangarpet-Bangalore City sector in 1991-92.[10]

Speed limit[edit]

Chennai Central-Arakonnam-Jolarapettai-Bangalore City is classified as a "Group B" line and can take speeds up to 130 km/h.[11]

Sheds and workshops[edit]

Arakkonam earlier had a steam loco shed, now has an electric loco shed that holds 135+ locos, which include WAP-1,WAM-4 and WAG-5 locos.[12]

Krishnarajapuram diesel loco shed, opened in 1983, can hold 125 locos. These include: WDS-6, WDM-2, WDM-3A, WDP-4, WDG-3A and WDG-4 locos. Bangalore Cantonment diesel loco shed holds WDS-4 locos.[12]

Jolarpettai has an electric/ diesel trip shed.[12]

The Carriage and Wagon Workshops at Perambur repairs broad gauge coaches and wagons. The Locomotive Workshops at Perambur was the premier broad gauge steam loco repair shop in the south. Even now performs the annual overhaul of the Fairy Queen. The workshop now primarily handles the repair and maintenance of electric locomotives from all over the south an even beyond.[12]

Basin Bridge has a carriage maintenance works. Avadi has a broad gauge EMU maintenance and car shed. Arakkonam has engineering workshops.[12]

Passenger movement[edit]

Chennai Central, Katpadi and Bangalore City, on this line, are amongst the top hundred booking stations of Indian Railway.[13]

Railway reorganization[edit]

In the early 1950s legislation was passed authorizing the central government to take over independent railway systems that were there. On 14 April 1951 the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway, the South Indian Railway Company and Mysore State Railway were merged to form Southern Railway. Subsequently, Nizam's Guaranteed State Railway was also merged into Southern Railway. On 2 October 1966, the Secunderabad, Solapur, Hubli and Vijayawada Divisions, covering the former territories of Nizam's Guaranteed State Railway and certain portions of Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway were separated from Southern Railway to form the South Central Railway. In 1977, Guntakal division of Southern Railway was transferred to South Central Railway and the Solapur division transferred to Central Railway. Amongst the seven new zones created in 2003 was South Western Railway, which was carved out of Southern Railway and South Central railway.[14]


  1. ^ "IR History – Early days". 1832-1869. IRFCA. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "IR History:Early days II". 1870-1899. IRFCA. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "IR History: Part III (1900-1947)". IRFCA. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "76552/Kolar - Bangalore City DEMU (Via Chik Ballapur)". indiarailinfo. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Railway line proposed by Indira". The New Indian Express, 2 November 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  6. ^ Satish, Shalini. "Railcar's last stop". Deccan Herald,. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "Chapter VII – Transport and Communications" (PDF). Railway lines opened for traffic in the state since 1861, page 290. Karnataka Government. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 August 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "Arakkonam Chennai EMU". India Rail Info. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  9. ^ "Public transport in Chennai and its suburbs". The Hindu, 15 March 2005. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  10. ^ "History of Electrification". IRFCA. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "Chapter II : The Maintenance of Permanent Way". Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d e "Sheds and Workshops". IRFCA. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  13. ^ "Indian Railways Passenger Reservation Enquiry". Availability in trains for Top 100 Booking Stations of Indian Railways. IRFCA. Archived from the original on 10 May 2014. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  14. ^ "Geography - Railway Zones". IRFCA. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 

External links[edit]