Southern Railway zone
Southern Railway headquarters, Chennai
|Locale||Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Puducherry|
|Dates of operation||1951-present–|
|Predecessor||South Indian Railway|
|Track gauge||Broad gauge only|
|Headquarters||Chennai Central Railway Station|
|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.
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.
Chennai Central, Coimbatore City Junction, Thiruvananthapuram Central, Mangalore Central, Erode Junction, Madurai Junction, Ernakulam Junction, Tirunelveli Junction, Tiruchirappalli Junction and Salem 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.
Timeline and key events
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.
1861: Beypore - Tirur (Kozhikode) route commissioned . Great Southern Railway of India Tiruchirappalli - Nagapattinam (broad gauge) up to 125 km from the gauge set.
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 - Thiruvananthapuram line was constructed.
1907: Mangalore - Kozhikode line was constructed.
1908: Chennai Egmore Railway Station 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.
1965: Chennai - Tambaram - Chengalpattu - Tindivanam - Villupuram route was electrified (25KV AC).
1966: Vijayawada from Southern Railway and Hubli from South Central Railway was divided into separate divisions.
1975: Ernakulam - Kollam meter gauge to broad gauge conversion.
1976: Tamil Nadu Express from New Delhi - Chennai Central started its operation. Ernakulam - Trivandrum line was opened for traffic after gauge conversion.
1977:On August 15, 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.
1979: Chennai - Thiruvallur route electrified.
1982: Thiruvallur - Arakkonam route electrified.
1984: Vaigai Express was bifurcated into Vaigai and Pallavan Express.
1987: Chennai suburban - Avadi (EMU) service starts.
1989: Alappuzha - Ernakulam route opened for service.
1997: Chennai Beach Railway(MRTS) started its operations.
1998: Tambaram - Tiruchirappalli (chord line) and Tiruchirapalli - Thanjavur opened after gauge conversion.
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.
Salem Division split from Coimbatore, Pallakad and Tiruchirappali divisions consisting of Coimbatore and Erode. Salem - Virudachalam converted to broad gauge . Mylapore to Velachery, Chennai path of the railway service was opened on November 19.
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.
Trains of Southern Railway
- Tamil Nadu Express (2621/22)
- Grand Trunk Express (2615/16)
- Chennai - Delhi Duronto Express
- Rajadhani Expresses
- Garib Rath Expresses
- Brindavan Express
- Nellai Express (12631/32)
- Pandian Express(12637/38)
- Pearl City Express (12693/94)
- Rockfort Express (16177/78)
- Kerala Express (12625/26)
- Mangala Lakshadweep Express(12617/18)
- Himsagar Express(16317/18)
- Navyug Express
- Thirukkural Express (12641/42)
- Tamil Nadu Sampark Kranti Express (12651/52)
- Andaman Express (16031/32)
- Alleppey Express (16041/42)
- Nilgiri Express (12671/72) also known to be Blue Mountain Express.
- Cheran Express(12673/74)
- Kovai Express (12675/76)
- Intercity expresses (12677/78/79/80)
- Kanyakumari Express (12633/34)
- Kongu Express (12647/48)
- Rajkot Express (16613/14)
- Nagercoil Express (16609/10)
- Vanchinad Express (16303/04)
- Pothigai Express (12661/62)
- Boatmail Express (16101/02)
- Sethu Express (16713/14)
- Pallavan Express (12605/06)
- Vaigai Express (12635/36)
- West Coast Express (16627/28)
- Mangalore Mail (12601/02)
- Yercaud Express(16669/70)
- Yelagiri Express (16089/16090)
- Venad Express (16301/16302)
- Parasuram Express (16349/16350)
- JanShatabthi Express (12075/6, 12083/4)
- Matshyagandha Express (12619/20)
- Tea Garden Express (16865/16866)
- Cochin-Shoranur Passenger(56606/56607/56608/56609)
- Shoranur - Nilambur Road Passenger
- Mannai Express (16179/80)
- Kamban Express (16175/76)
- Chennai Rajdhani Express (12433/34)
- Trivandrum Rajdhani Express (12431/32)
Divisions of Southern Railway
It is organized into 6 divisions with Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) as head in charge 
Units of Southern Railway
Southern Railway has many factories & sheds:
- Mechanical Workshps
- Electrical & Communication
- Southern Railway Signal & Telecom Workshop, Podanur, Coimbatore
- Locomotive Sheds
- EMU Car Shed
- EMU Car Shed, Avadi, Chennai
- EMU Car Shed, Tambaram, Chennai
- EMU Car Shed, Velachery, Chennai
- BG Coaching Maintenance Depots
- Basin Bridge, Chennai
- Egmore, Chennai
- Mettupalayam, Coimbatore
- Wagon Maintenance Depots
- Tondiarpet, Chennai
- Chennai Harbour
- Royapuram, Chennai
- Pattibiram Military Siding, Chennai
- Kankanadi, Palghat
- Milavattan, Madurai
- Irumpanam, Trivandrum
- Printing Presses
- General Printing Press, Royapuram, Chennai
- Ticket Printing Factory, Tiruchirapalli