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.jpg
Southern Railway-7
Southern Railway HQ.jpg
LocaleTamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Puducherry
Dates of operation1951; 68 years ago (1951)
PredecessorSouth Indian Railway Company
Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway
Mysore State Railway
Track gaugeBroad gauge and Metre gauge
Length5,081 kilometres (3,157 mi) route[1]

The Southern Railway (abbreviated SR), headquartered at Chennai, is one of the 18 zones of Indian Railways. It is the earliest of the 18 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. At present, after re-organization of existing railway zones and creation of new zones undertaken by the Indian Railways between 2002–03, Southern Railway has emerged as the 2nd largest zone after undertaking some gauge conversion projects and creation of new lines.[2]


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. Gopalaswami 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 kilometres (5,999 mi) was the first zone to be formed.[3] 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 Railways.


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.


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

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

The Coimbatore railway Division was disestablished in 1956.

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.


The zone operates both passenger and freight trains. The biggest station of the Zone is Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. M.G. Ramachandran Central Railway Station. Other major stations of the Zone includes Chennai Egmore, Mangalore Central, Mangalore Jn., Coimbatore, Salem, Palakkad, Kozhikode, Viluppuram, Ernakulam Junction, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Trichy, Thiruvananthapuram Central, Trivandrum Kochuveli, Nagercoil Junction, Vellore, Erode, Kollam, Thrissur, Tirur, Kannur, Shoranur, and Puducherry. Passenger trains range from day intercity trains to overnight trains, long-distance trains to other zones, Shatabdi and passenger trains stopping at many stations. The zone owns a large number of coaches. These are maintained at coach care centres. Basin Bridge coach care centre serving Chennai central is one of the biggest in the country. Most major stations have a coach care Centre. The stations which don't have such facilities are served by trains through sometimes complex rake-sharing arrangements which also increases the utilization of the coaches. Apart from these Centres, the zone has MEMU and DEMU car sheds. These are available in Avadi, Trichy, Erode, Palakkad and Kollam. The zone also operates suburban system in Chennai.

Freight operations mainly include container traffic from all the ports falling under its jurisdiction ( Chennai, Mangalore, Ennore, Cochin and Tuticorin are some of the major ports) and coal-traffic bound to the thermal power stations in Tamil Nadu state from the ports. Public sector oil companies also transport petroleum products from refineries to storage terminals using the zone. Cement plants also use the railway system extensively. Food grains are also transported through freight trains. Most of the lines inside ports, thermal stations, manufacturing industries and owned by the respective companies and the zone provides a link connecting its network and the wagons and locomotives. There is a wagon care centre in Tondiarpet, Chennai.

The zone has electric loco sheds at Royapuram, Erode and Arakkonam. Diesel loco sheds are present at Tondiarpet, Golden Rock, Ernakulam and Erode. Most of the important routes are electrified and only low traffic lines are unelectrified. However, it is common to see diesel locos in electrified lines due to various operational constraints. It is also common to see other zones' locomotives operating inside the zone and vice versa.

Since the zone has little freight traffic compared to other zones and huge passenger traffic (which are run at low fares across the country), the zones' finances are often in a bad shape.[4][5]



Southern Railway has many factories & sheds:

Rail transport[edit]


Route State Length in km
Bulb rail line at Shoranur Kerala 5
Sabrimala-Chengannur Kerala 64
Morappur-Dharmapuri via Mukkanur Tamil Nadu 36
Needmangalam-Pattukottai via Mannargudi, Madukkur Tamil Nadu 54
Rameshwaram-Dhanuskodi Tamil Nadu 17

New Lines[edit]

Name of the Project(s) State Length in km Status
Dharmapuri-Morapur via Mukanur, Ranimukanur Tamilnadu 36 under construction
Kumbakonam-Virudhachalam Jn Tamilnadu 65 Survey Completed[6]
Sabarimala Railway Kerala 120 kilometres (75 mi) Under progress
Guruvayur-Tirunavaya Kerala 51
Attipattu-Puttur Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh 88.3
Salem-Kallakurichi via Chinnasalem Tamil Nadu 58 Not Started
Erode-Palani Tamil Nadu 91.05 Not Started
Madurai-Aruppukkottai-Tuticorin Tamil Nadu 144 Under Progress
Tindivanam-Gingee-Tiruvannamalai Tamil Nadu 70 Under Slow Progress
Tindivanam-Nagari Tamil Nadu & Andhra Pradesh 179.2 Under Slow Progress

Gauge Conversion[edit]

Name of the Project (s) State Length in km Status
Punalur-Edamon-Sengottai TN & KL 49 Completed
Pollachi-Podanur-Coimbatore TN 45 Completed
Madurai-Bodinayakkanur Tamil Nadu 90.41 Under progress(partially completed)
karaikudi-mayiladuthurai Tamil Nadu 224 Completed


Name of the Project(s) State Length in km Status
Ernakulam-Haripad Kerala 87 Under Slow Progress
Attipattu-Korukkupettai Tamil Nadu 18 Under Progress
Chennai Beach-Attipattu 4th line Tamil Nadu 22.1 Under Progress
Chennai Beach-Korukkupettai 3rd line Tamil Nadu 4.1 Under Progress
Mangalore Junction-Panambur Patch Doubling Karnataka 19 Under Progress
Kuruppanthara-Chingavanam Kerala 26.58 Under Progress
Tiruvallur-Arakkonam 4th line Tamil Nadu 26.83 Completed
Villupuram-Dindigul Tamil Nadu 273 Completed
Thiruchirapalli-Thanjavur Tamil Nadu 50 Completed

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Southern Railway vital statistics" (PDF). Southern Railway. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Origins of Southern Railway". Retrieved 17 Jul 2008.
  3. ^ "Origins and history of Southern Railway" (PDF). Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Southern Railway punctuality and fiscal performance hit - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2018-02-24.
  5. ^ "Southern Railway's financial and operational performance dips - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2018-02-24.
  6. ^

External links[edit]