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Indian Railways organisational structure

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Indian Railways is a statutory body under the ownership of the Ministry of Railways of the Government of India that operates India's national railway system. It is headed by a Railway Board whose chairman reports to the Ministry of Railways. It is organized into separate functional groups or verticals while divided into 17 operational zones geographically. Each zone, headed by a General Manager, is semi-autonomous thus creating a matrix organization where the functional branches are under dual control.

Railway Board[edit]

In March 1905, the railway branch of the Public Works Department was transferred to the newly established railway board under the department of commerce and industry by the Indian Railway Board Act.[1] In 1908, the set up was re-organized on the recommendations of the Railway Finance Committee (1908) by constituting the Railway Board headed by a president as a separate department.[2] Pursuant to the Acworth committee's recommendations in 1921, the railway board was expanded to four members with the addition of a financial commissioner in 1924 apart from the chief commissioner, one commissioners responsible for ways and works, projects and stores and the other responsible for general administration, staff and traffic.[2] In 1929, an additional member was added to the board and was assigned the responsibility for staff, so that the member in charge of traffic could focus solely on transport and commercial matters.[3] In 1950,the railway board was re-constituted to four members with the senior-most functional member appointed the chairman of the board with no absolute over riding power.[4][5] In October 1954, the chairman of the board was made responsible for decisions on technical and policy matters, with the status of a principal secretary to the Government of India with an additional member added.[5] The board was expanded with an additional member responsible for electrical engineering in 1972 and a further member responsible for health in 1976.[6] In 2004, the board is expanded by the introduction of two new members responsible for signalling & telecom and for stores respectively.[7] In December 2019, the Union Cabinet decided to reduce the size of the board from eight to five.[8] The chairman of the railway board reports to the Ministry of Railways and act on behalf of the ministry. The following report to the railway board:[9][10]

  • General managers of various zones
  • Heads of functional divisions
  • Heads/Managers of production units
  • Heads of Public Sector Undertakings
  • Heads of railway institutes
  • Heads of special divisions

Functional division[edit]

The organization is divided into separate functional groups of traction, engineering, traffic, rolling stock, signalling, materials, personnel, RPF, finance, health and safety.[11]

Zonal management[edit]

In 1944, all the railway companies in existence at the time were taken over by the Government.[12] In December 1950, the Central Advisory Committee for Railways approved the plan for re-organizing Indian Railways into six regional zones which were divided subsequently to create newer zones. As of 2024, there are 17 operational zones of Indian Railways.[13] The zones are headed by a General manager and are further sub-divided into divisions. Each division is headed by a Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), who are responsible for the operation and maintenance in the respective divisions.[14] The 17 operational zones and their divisions are listed below. South Coast Railway zone is proposed to be created as the eighteenth zone, but is not yet operational as of 2023.[15]

Indian Railway Zones
Indian Railway zones
Number Railway zone Code Headquarters[16] Established[17] Route length[a][18] Stations Divisions[19]
km miles
7 Southern Railway SR Chennai 1951 5,093 3,164.6 727[20] Chennai, Madurai, Palakkad, Salem, Thiruvananthapuram, Tiruchirappalli
8 Central Railway CR Mumbai CSMT 1951 4,203.3 2,611.8 486[21] Bhusawal, Mumbai CR, Nagpur, Pune, Solapur
9 Western Railway WR Mumbai Churchgate 1951 6,156.6 3,825.5 1046[22] Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, Mumbai WR, Rajkot, Ratlam, Vadodara
4 Eastern Railway ER Kolkata 1952 2,823.2 1,754.3 587[23] Asansol, Howrah, Malda, Sealdah
1 Northern Railway NR Delhi 1952 7,363 4,575.2 1013[24] Ambala, Delhi, Firozpur, Lucknow, Moradabad
2 North Eastern Railway NER Gorakhpur 1952 3,470.5 2,156.5 537[25] Izzatnagar, Lucknow, Varanasi
5 South Eastern Railway SER Kolkata 1955 2,758.6 1,714.1 363[26] Adra, Chakradharpur, Kharagpur, Ranchi
3 Northeast Frontier Railway NFR Guwahati 1958 4,348 2,701.7 547[27] Alipurduar, Katihar, Lumding, Rangiya, Tinsukia
6 South Central Railway SCR Secunderabad 1966 6,560.5 4,076.5 156[28] Guntur, Guntakal, Hyderabad, Nanded, Secunderabad, Vijayawada
NA Kolkata Metro KM Kolkata 1984 59.8 37.2 40[29]
14 South East Central Railway SECR Bilaspur 1988 2,396.6 1,489.2 358[30] Bilaspur, Nagpur, Raipur
16 East Central Railway ECR Hajipur 1996 4,238 2,633.4 340[31] Danapur, Dhanbad, Mughalsarai, Samastipur, Sonpur
11 North Western Railway NWR Jaipur 2002 5,705.6 3,545.3 578[32] Ajmer, Bikaner, Jaipur, Jodhpur
15 East Coast Railway ECoR Bhubaneswar 2003 3,017.2 1,874.8 133[33] Khurda Road, Sambalpur, Waltair
13 North Central Railway NCR Prayagraj 2003 3,522.6 2,188.8 411[34] Agra, Jhansi, Prayagraj
10 South Western Railway SWR Hubballi 2003 3,661.8 2,275.3 381[35] Bengaluru, Hubballi, Mysuru
12 West Central Railway WCR Jabalpur 2003 3,060 1,901.4 247[36] Bhopal, Jabalpur, Kota
  1. ^ as of March 2023


In every zone, the functional verticals are represented by head of departments (HODs) responsible for the respective functions in the zone.[37] Each division has functional staff who report to the geographical divisional managers and functional HODs in a matrix organization and are tasked with the operation and maintenance of assets.[14]

Departments & Roles
Departments & Roles
Zonal administration[37]
Department HOD Divisional manager Function
Stores Principal Chief Materials Manager (PCMM) Sr. Divisional Material Manager Material stores for maintenance of infrastructure
Mechanical Principal Chief Mechanical Engineer (PCME) Sr. Divisional Mechanical Engineer (Diesel) Maintenance of diesel locomotives
Sr. Divisional Mechanical Engineer (Carriage & Wagon) Maintenance of rolling stock
Electrical Principal Chief Electrical Engineer (PCEE) Sr. Divisional Electrical Engineer (General) Maintenance of station lighting and power supply
Sr. Divisional Electrical Engineer (Traction distribution) Maintenance of overhead equipment
Sr. Divisional Electrical Engineer (Traction rolling stock) Maintenance of electric locomotives and Multiple units
Signal & Telecommunication Principal Chief Signal & Telecom Engineer (PCSTE) Sr. Divisional Signal & Telecommunication Engineer (DSTE) Management of the signalling and telecommunication infrastructure
Engineering Principal Chief Engineer (PCE) Sr. Divisional Engineer Maintenance of fixed assets
Sectional Sr. Divisional Engineer
Operations Principal Chief Operations Manager (PCOM) Sr. Divisional Operations Manager Train operations
Accounts Principal Financial Advisor (PFA) Sr. Divisional Finance Manager Accounting and financials
Commercial Principal Chief Commercial Manager (PCCM) Sr. Divisional Commercial Manager Passenger ticketing, checking, freight booking and fare collection
Medical Principal Chief Medical Director (PCMD) Chief Medical Superintendent Providing medical facilities
Safety Principal Chief Safety Officer (PCSO) Sr. Divisional Safety Officer Safety of train operations
Personnel Principal Chief Personnel Officer (PCPO) Sr. Divisional Personnel Officer Human resources
Security Principal Chief Security Commissioner (PCSC) Sr. Divisional Security Commissioner Security of railway material, passenger and belongings
Management Additional General Manager (AGM) Divisional Railway Manager Management of all departments

Human Resources[edit]

Staff are classified into gazetted (Groups A and B) and non-gazetted (Groups C and D) employees with gazetted employees carrying out executive/managerial level tasks.[38] As of March 2022, Groups A & B constitute 1.5% of the total workforce, while Group C & D account for 98.5%.[16] 80% of Group-A employees are recruited through Indian Railways Management Service (IRMS) with remaining through promotions.[39] The various Group A cadres are as below include:[40]

Group B employees are recruited by departmental promotional exams of Group C employees. Recruitment of Group C employees are through exams conducted by the Railway Recruitment Control Board (RRCB) and Group D staffs are recruited by zonal Railway Recruitment Cells (RRC).[41] Indian Railways operates seven centralized training institutes and 295 training centers.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Indian Railway Board Act, 1905 (PDF). Parliament of India. 1905.
  2. ^ a b IRFC (PDF) (Report). Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  3. ^ "History of Indian Railways". IRFCA. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  4. ^ Overview of Indian Railways (PDF) (Report). National Academy of Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 January 2024.
  5. ^ a b "History of Indian Railways". IRFCA. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  6. ^ "History of Indian Railways". IRFCA. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  7. ^ "History of Indian Railways". IRFCA. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  8. ^ "Cabinet approves restructuring of Railway Board". Livemint. 24 December 2019. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  9. ^ Rao, M.A. (1988). Indian Railways. New Delhi: National Book Trust. p. 49-54. ISBN 978-8-1237-2589-5.
  10. ^ Organization chart (PDF) (Report). Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  11. ^ Organization Chart (PDF) (Report). Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  12. ^ Evolution of Indian Railways-Historical Background (Report). Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  13. ^ List of zones and divsions (PDF) (Report). Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  14. ^ a b India's railway history : a research handbook. Brill. 3 August 2012. p. 270. ISBN 978-9-0042-3003-3. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  15. ^ "Cabinet approves South Coast Railway zone" (Press release). Government of India. Archived from the original on 2 April 2019. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  16. ^ a b c Year book 2021-22 (PDF) (Report). Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  17. ^ Indian railway zones (PDF) (Report). Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  18. ^ Route map, 2023 (PDF) (Report). Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  19. ^ List of zones and divsions (PDF) (Report). Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  20. ^ List of stations, SR (PDF) (Report). Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  21. ^ Divisions of CR (Report). Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  22. ^ "System map, WR" (PDF). Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  23. ^ Category wise stations, ER (PDF) (Report). Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  24. ^ System map, NR (PDF) (Report). Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  25. ^ "System map, NER" (PDF). Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  26. ^ "Category of stations, SER". Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  27. ^ Station classification, NFR (PDF) (Report). Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  28. ^ "Category wise stations, SCR". Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  29. ^ "Kolkata metro map". Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  30. ^ "System map, SECR" (PDF). Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  31. ^ UTS locations, ECR (PDF) (Report). Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  32. ^ "About us, NWR". Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  33. ^ Classification of stations, ECoR (PDF) (Report). Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  34. ^ System map, NCR (PDF) (Report). Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  35. ^ "Category wise stations, SWR". Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  36. ^ "Category wise list of stations, WCR". Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  37. ^ a b Organization chart, Zonal railway (PDF) (Report). Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  38. ^ "Railway Board Directorates". Indian Railways. Archived from the original on 30 May 2012.
  39. ^ "Recruitment to Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS) to be done through a specially designed examination (IRMS Examination)" (Press release). Government of India. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  40. ^ "Railway board". Indian Railways. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  41. ^ Indian Railways Establishment Manual (Report). RRCB. Archived from the original on 25 May 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2023.