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New Delhi–Chennai main line

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The Delhi–Nagpur–Chennai line is a railway line connecting Chennai and Delhi cutting across southern part of the Eastern Coastal Plains of India, the Eastern Ghats, the Deccan Plateau and the Yamuna valley. It covers a distance of 2,182 kilometres (1,356 mi) across Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The route is used by the Grand Trunk Express and as such is referred to by many as the Grand Trunk Route.

Delhi–Nagpur–Chennai line
LocaleDelhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh,
Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana
Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu
TerminiNew Delhi
Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. M.G. Ramachandran Central Railway Station
OwnerIndian Railways
Operator(s)Northern Railway, North Central Railway, Central Railway, South Central Railway, Southern Railway
Line length2,182 km (1,356 mi)
Number of tracks2
Track gauge1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) Broad gauge
Electrification25 kV 50 Hz AC OHLE during 1980-1991
Operating speedup to 160 km/hr
Route map
Grand Trunk Express and Tamil Nadu Express (NDLS-MAS) Route map.jpg



The 2,182 km (1,356 mi) long trunk line, amongst the long and busy trunk lines connecting the metros, has been treated in more detail in smaller sections:

  1. Agra Chord
  2. Agra-Bhopal section
  3. Bhopal-Nagpur section
  4. Nagpur-Kazipet section
  5. Kazipet-Vijayawada section
  6. Vijayawada-Chennai section


The Agra-Delhi chord was opened in 1904.[1] Some parts of it were relaid during the construction of New Delhi (inaugurated in 1927-28).[2]

The Agra-Gwalior line was opened by the Maharaja of Gwalior in 1881 and it became the Scindia State Railway.

The Indian Midland Railway built the Gwalior-Jhansi line and the Jhansi-Bhopal line in 1889.[3]

The Bhopal-Itarsi line was opened by the Begum of Bhopal in 1884.[3] Itarsi was linked with Nagpur between 1923 and 1924.[4]

The period of construction of the Nagpur-Balharshah line is uncertain.

The Vijayawada-Chennai line was constructed in 1899.[3]

The Wadi-Secunderabad line was built in 1874 with financing by the Nizam of Hyderabad. It later became part of Nizam's Guaranteed State Railway. In 1889, the main line of the Nizam's Guaranteed State Railway was extended to Vijayawada, then known as Bezwada.[3]

With the completion of the Kazipet-Balharshah link in 1929, Chennai was directly linked to Delhi.[1]


The Vijayawada–Chennai section electrified by 1980.[5]

The Vijayawada-Kazipet sector was electrified in 1985-88.[6]

The Kazipet-Ramagundam-Balharshah-Nagpur sector was electrified in 1987-89.

The Bhopal-Itarsi sector was electrified in 1988-89 and the Nagpur-Itarsi sector in 1990-91.

The Agra-Bhopal sector was electrified in 1984-89.

The Agra-Faridabad section was electrified in 1982-85.[6]

Speed limitsEdit

The Delhi–Chennai line (Grand Trunk route) is classified as a "Group A" line which can take speeds up to 160 km/h.[7]

Passenger movementEdit

Diamond quadrilateralEdit

The Delhi–Chennai line is a part of the diamond quadrilateral. The routes connecting the four major metropolises (New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata), along with their diagonals, known as the diamond quadrilateral, carry about half the freight and nearly half the passenger traffic, although they form only 16 per cent of the length.[9]


  1. ^ a b "IR History: Part III (1900-1947)". IRFCA. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  2. ^ "A fine balance of luxury and care". Hindusthan Times, 21 July 2011. Archived from the original on 2 June 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d "IR History: Early Days – II". Chronology of railways in India, Part 2 (1870-1899). Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  4. ^ "Introduction". Nagpur Itarsi Route. Nagpur district authorities. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  5. ^ "IR History Part VII (2000-present)". IRFCA. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  6. ^ a b "History of Electrification". IRFCA. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  7. ^ "Chapter II – The Maintenance of Permanent Way". Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  8. ^ "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 17 March 2014.
  9. ^ "Geography – Railway Zones". Major routes. IRFCA. Retrieved 17 March 2014.