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
தென்னக ரயில்வே
ദക്ഷിണ റെയിൽവേ
Southern Railway-7
Southern Railway HQ.jpg
Locale Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Puducherry
Dates of operation 1951–
Predecessor South Indian Railway, Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway, Mysore State Railway
Track gauge Broad gauge and Metre gauge
Electrification Yes
Length 6,844 kilometres (4,253 mi)[1]
Headquarters Chennai Central
Website SR official website

The Southern Railway, headquartered at Chennai, Tamil Nadu, is one of the 16 zones of Indian Railways. It is the earliest of the 16 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.[2]

Southern Railway Divisions[edit]

Southern Railway has its headquarters in Chennai and has the following six divisions:

  1. Chennai
  2. Madurai
  3. Tiruchirappalli
  4. Salem
  5. Palakkad
  6. Thiruvananthapuram

It covers the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry and small portions of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. More than 50 crore 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.[3]

Chennai Central, Chennai Egmore, Ernakulam Junction, Thiruvananthapuram Central, Coimbatore Junction, Kozhikode, Thrissur and Madurai Junction are the A1 graded stations under Southern Railway Division. These are the busiest and most revenue-generating stations. Ernakulam Town, Coimbatore North Junction, Aluva, Kochuveli, Tiruchirappalli Junction, Erode Junction, Tirunelveli Junction, Kannur, Kottayam, Shoranur Junction, Salem Junction, Kollam Junction, Palakkad Junction, Katpadi Junction, Mangaluru Junction and Kayamkulam Junction are some of the other major stations. Many of the major stations are being upgraded to world-class standa

Organisation 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.


In 1944, all Railway companies 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, the Southern, the Central, the Eastern and the Western.

The Southern Railway zone (9,654 route km) was the first zone to be formed.[4] Created on 14 April 1951 by the merger of the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway, the South Indian Railway 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 appointed 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, Viluppuram.
  • 1862: Madras Railway Company's Tram way for local transport established in Chennai.
  • 1864: Jolarpettai - Bengaluru 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 metre gauge.
  • 1879: Metre gauge line between Puducherry and Viluppuram 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: Metre 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 Dhanushkodi (Rameswaram) and Ceylon started.
  • 1902: Ernakulam - Shoranur path was set up.
  • 1904: Kollam - Sengottai line was constructed.
  • 1907: Mangaluru - Kozhikode line was constructed.
  • 1908: Chennai Egmore railway station was built.
  • 1918: Kollam - Thiruvananthapuram line was built.
  • 1927: Shoranur - Nilambur line constructed.
  • 1929: Chennai suburban railway service began.
  • 1931: Chennai Beach to Tambaram metre gauge electric train service started.
  • 1934: Ernakulam - Shoranur gauge conversion.
  • 1951: Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway, the South Indian Railway Company, and the Mysore State Railway were united to form a new zone of the Southern Railway.
  • 24-12-1952 Ernakulam - Kollam 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 - Kollam metre gauge line
  • 00-00-1958 Establishment of S & T workshop Podanur
  • 01-09-1963 opening of Virudhunagar - Aruppukkottai metre gauge line
  • 02-05-1964 opening of Aruppukkottai -Manamadurai metre gauge line
  • 00-01-1965 Conversion of DC 1.5 kV electrified system to 25 kV AC system from Chennai 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 Broad gauge conversion of Ernakulam - Kollam MG section
  • 13-09-1976 Inauguration of Thiruvananthapuram - Ernakulam BG section via Kottayam
  • 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 am 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 km/h was recorded.
  • 13-04-1979 Electrification of Chennai - Gummidipundi section
  • 20-05-1979 Inauguration of Mangaluru - Hassan MG line
  • 09-08-1979 Electrification of Chennai Beach - Korukkupet - Madras Central
  • 02-10-1979 Creation of Thiruvananthapuram Division
  • 29-11-1979 Electrification Chennai - Tiruvallur section
  • 27-07-1981 Creation of Bengaluru Division
  • 03-09-1982 Electrification of Tiruvallur - Arakkonam section
  • 11-08-1984 Electrified train services Between Chennai - 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 Chennai - Avadi
  • 25-07-1987 First solid state interlocking in Indian Railways at Srirangam Station
  • 02-10-1987 Introduction of Computerised Passenger Reservation
  • 06-08-1988 Inauguration of Karur - Dindigul BG line
  • 15-10-1989 Opening of Ernakulam – Alappuzha 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 Bengaluru - Nizamuddin
  • 20-11-1992 Inauguration of Alappuzha - Kayamkulam BG line
  • 00-03-1992 Electrification of Jolarpettai - Bangalore section
  • 16-04-1993 Opening of Bengaluru - Mysuru BG line
  • 21-10-1993 Inauguration of Karur - Dindigul - Madurai - Thoothukudi BG project
  • 09-05-1994 Introduction of first Shatabdi Express between Chennai – Mysuru
  • 31-08-1994 Inauguration of Chikjajur - Chitradurga - Rayadurg BG line
  • 02-04-1995 Inauguration of Chennai Beach-Tambaram BG line
  • 11-01-1997 Opening of Salem - Bengaluru 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 Thrissur-Ernakulam
  • 13-10-2000 Opening of 100th Computerised Passenger Reservation Centre at Kovilpatti
  • 30-10-2000 Commissioning of optical fibre communication link between Villupuram-Tiruchirapalli
  • 22-11-2000 Inauguration of new BG line between Penukonda and Puttaparthi
  • 2002: Southern Railway, Bengaluru and Mysuru 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: Vizhupuram - Mayiladuthurai (main line) gauge conversions started.
  • 2007: First movement on Pamban bridge after broad gauge conversion.
  • 2008: Virudhunagar - Manamadurai gauge conversion started.
  • 2010: Vizhupuram - Mayiladuthurai (main line) services started.
  • 2011: Sengottai - Punalur gauge conversion began.
  • 2011: Madurai - Bodinayakkanur gauge conversion began.
  • 2012: Thiruvarur - Pattukottai gauge conversion began.
  • 2012: Dindugal - palani train service starts
  • 14-07-2012 Virudhunagar - Manamadurai BG line opened.
  • 2014: palani - pollachi train service starts
  • 2015: pollachi - palagat train service starts
Nilgiri Mountain Railway working under Southern Railway zone, Chennai and also it is UNESCO World Heritage site.


Ongoing Railway Projects[edit]

New Line[edit]

Year Name of the Project(s) State Length in km
1997-98 Sabari railway line Kerala 120
1998-99 Guruvayur-Tirunavaya Kerala 51
2008-09 Attipattu-Puttur Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh 88.3
2015-20 Salem-Kallakurichi via Chinnasalem Tamil Nadu 16
2008-09 Erode-Palani Tamil Nadu 91.05
2008-09 Madurai-Aruppukkottai-Tuticorin Tamilnadu 144
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 Punalur-Edamon-Sengottai TN & KL 49
2006-07 Pollachi-Podanur-Coimbatore TN 36.5
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 Ernakulam-Haripad Kerala 18.13
1999-00 Attipattu-Korukkupettai Tamil Nadu 18
2006-07 Chenganur-Piravom Kerala 26.5
2003-04 Chennai Beach-Attipattu 4th line Tamil Nadu 22.1
2003-04 Chennai Beach-Korukkupettai Tamil Nadu 4.1
2006-07 Kankanadi-Panamburu Patch Doubling Karnataka 19
2007-08 Kurruppantara-Chengavannam Kerala 26.58
2008-09 Tiruvallur-Arakkonam 4th line Tamil Nadu 26.83
2008-09 Vizhupuram-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 Kerala 78
Bulb rail line at Shoranur Kerala 5
Sabrimala-Chengannur Kerala 64
Erumeli-Punalur- Trivandrum Kerala 136
Idappalli - Tirur Kerala 77
Kanjangad-Panathur Kerala 41
Kayankulam-Trivandrum via Adoor and Kottarakkara Kerala 103
Nilambur Road - Feroke via Manjeri and Mavur Kerala 69
Thakazhi-Tiruvalla - Pathanamthitta Kerala 50
Tirur-Angadipuram Kerala 41
Vaikam-Vaikam Road Kerala 10
Nanjangud - Badagara via Vyitri,Poozhi,Hithod Kerala, Karnataka 230
Madurai-Kottayam Kerala, Tamil Nadu 234
Sabarimala to Dindigul Kerala, Tamil Nadu 201
Arakkonam to Tindivanam via Walajapet, Ranipet and Arcot Tamil Nadu 96
Avadi-Sriperumpudur Tamil Nadu 25
Chennai-Sriperumbudur via Poonamallee 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 via Aruppukkottai 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
Chinnasalem-Kallakurichi Tamil Nadu 16
Villivakkam-Katpadi Tamil Nadu 153
Mettur - Chamarajnagar Tamil Nadu, Karnataka 182
Thrissur-Kollengode Kerala 59

Units of Southern Railway[edit]

Southern Railway has many factories & sheds:

  • Mechanical Workshops
  • Electrical & Communication
    • Southern Railway Signal & Telecom Workshop, Podanur, Coimbatore
  • Sheds
    • Locomotive Sheds
    • MEMU Car Shed
    • EMU Car Shed
      • EMU Car Shed, Avadi
      • EMU Car Shed, Tambaram
      • EMU Car Shed,Velachery
    • BG Coaching Maintenance Depots
      • Basin Bridge, Chennai
      • Egmore, Chennai
      • Madurai
      • Salem
      • Erode
      • Coimbatore
      • Mettupalayam
      • Shoranur
      • Mangaluru
      • Thiruvananthapuram
      • Ernakulam
      • Kollam
      • Tirunelveli
      • Nagercoil
      • Rameswaram
      • Thoothukudi
      • Tiruchirapalli
      • Viluppuram
    • Wagon Maintenance Depots
      • Tondiarpet, Chennai
      • Egmore, Chennai
      • Madurai
      • Jolarpettai
      • Kochi Harbour
      • Arakkonam
      • Royapuram, Chennai
      • Pattibiram Military Siding
      • Erode
      • Kankanadu
      • Ernakulam
      • Milavittan
      • Irumpanam
      • Tiruchirapalli
      • Viluppuram
      • Uthagamandalam
  • Printing Presses
    • General Printing Press, Royapuram, Chennai
    • Ticket Printing Factory, Thiruvananthapuram,
    • Ticket Printing Factory, Tiruchirappalli

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Southern Railway vital statistics" (PDF). Southern Railway. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  2. ^ "Origins of Southern Railway". Retrieved 17 Jul 2008. 
  3. ^ "Southern Railways revenue generation mode". Retrieved 17 Jul 2008. 
  4. ^ "Origins and history of Southern Railway" (PDF). Retrieved 14 February 2015. 

External links[edit]