Indian Railways is huge. It is one of the largest and most sophisticated railway networks in the world. To manage such a large network of trains and railway stations, Indian Railways has made several railway zones. There are a total of 18 railway zones in India.
The system was nationalized in 1947 and became one of the largest networks in the world. Indian Railways has a network of more than 67000 kilometres of railway lines that run daily to the remotest and most remote corners of our country. Eastern, Western, Central, Southern and Northern zones under the authority of the Ministry of Railways and the Indian Railway Board (IRB) of the Indian Government.
Southern Railway Zone of Indian Railways
Do you know which is the first railway zone in India? Southern Railway Zone is the first of the 18 zones of Indian Railways. This railway zone came into existence on 14th April 1951 after three state railways namely Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway, the South Indian Railway and the Mysore State Railway were merged.
Interesting Facts About Southern Railway Zone
Let’s see some of the interesting facts about the first railway zone of India, i.e. the Southern Railway Zone.
1. Formation and development
The Southern Railway Zone was initially created as Great Southern India Railway Co in 1853, the year when the first train ran in India between Mumbai (then Bombay) and Thane, but it was registered in 1859. When it was created, It’s headquarter was Tiruchirapalli but it was later shifted to Chennai.
2. Areas That Come Under the Southern Railway Zone
The Southern Railway zone is divided into 6 divisions namely Chennai, Salem, Madurai, Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad and Tiruchirapalli. It is one of the largest railways zones in India covering states including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry and small portions of Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka.
3. Number of Passengers Travelling on the Southern Railway Zone
More than 50 crore passengers travel on Southern Railway zone every year. So it is one of the busiest railway zones of India. It is the lifeline of all the people from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and some parts of Karnataka.
4. Revenue Generation of the Southern Railway Zone
One of the most interesting facts about the Southern Railway Zone is that it derives its revenue from passengers instead of freight. Most of the revenues of Indian railways come from freight transport, but in the Southern Railway zone, it is passenger transportation which brings maximum revenues.
Because this zone has more passenger traffic compared to freight transport, there is less revenue generation. The finances of this zone are often in bad shape.
5. Divisions of the Southern Railway Zone
These are the six divisions of the Southern Railway Zone of Indian Railways.
- Chennai: Chennai rail division is one of the largest railway divisions in the southern railway zone. It covers the districts of Northern Tamil Nadu and southern Andhra Pradesh. The total route length of Chennai rail division is 697.42 km. The divisional headquarter of Chennai rail division is in Chennai.
- Madurai: Madurai rail division is the largest railway division of Southern Railway zone. The total route length of Madurai rail division is 1356 km. Earlier, Thiruvananthapuram railway division was a part of Madurai rail division. It covers a total of 12 districts of Tamil Nadu and 1 district in Kerala. The divisional headquarter of Madurai rail division is Madurai.
- Palakkad: Palakkad is the smallest division of Southern Railway zone. It has a total route length of 588 km and is one of the oldest railway divisions in India. Some of the biggest stations on Palakkad railway division are Palakkad Junction, Shoranur Junction, Tirur, Kozhikode, Thalassery, Kannur, Kasaragod, Mangalore Central, Mangalore Junction. Its headquarters is at Palakkad.
- Salem: Salem is the newest railway division of the Southern Railway Zone. It was formed in 2006 after it was carved out of the Palakkad railway division. The busiest railway station on Salem railway division is Coimbatore Junction. It accounts for 45% of the total revenues. The total route length of Salem railway division is 862 km and covers a total of 15 districts of Tamil Nadu.
- Thiruvananthapuram: Thiruvananthapuram railway division was carved out of Madurai rail division on 2 October 1979 and serves a total of 8 districts of Kerala. Also, it serves some parts of Kanniyakumari and Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu. With a total route length of 625 km and 108 railway stations in the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, Thiruvananthapuram railway division is the 4th largest rail division in Southern Railway zone.
- Tiruchirappalli: Tiruchirapalli rail division was formed on 16 May 1956 after consolidating all other railways of pre-independence. With a total route length of 1026.55 km and serving a total of 13 districts of Tamil Nadu, Tiruchirapalli is the second largest railway division of the Southern Railway Zone.
6. Famous Railway Stations on the Southern Railway Zone
Some of the biggest railway stations which fall under the Southern Railways zone are Chennai Egmore, Arakkonam Junction, Vellore Katpadi Junction, Mangalore Central, Mangalore Jn., Coimbatore, Salem, Palakkad, Kozhikode, Viluppuram, Ernakulam Junction, Kottayam Railway Station, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Trichy, Thiruvananthapuram Central, and Nagercoil Junction.
7. Where are Loco Sheds Located in the Southern Railway Zone?
There are electric loco sheds present in Royapuram, Erode and Arakkonam while diesel loco sheds are present in Tondiarpet, Golden Rock, Ernakulam and Erode. One of the most interesting facts about the Southern Railway zone is that most of the routes are electrified. Only some low traffic lines are unelectrified.
8. Proposed and Under-Construction Rail Networks on the Southern Railway Zone
Some of the proposed and under-construction rail networks on the Southern Railway Zone are:
- Thiruvananthapuram-KanyakumariSome proposed new lines for the Southern Railway zone are:
- Dharmapuri-Morappur via Mukanur, Ranimukanur
- Sabarimala Railway
- Salem-Kallakurichi via Chinnasalem
The present network of Southern Railways stretches over a wide region of the Southern Peninsula of India including the states of Tamilnadu, Kerala, Pondicherry, and a small portion of Andhra Pradesh. The SR stretches from Mangalore on the west coast and Kanniyakumari on the south to Renigunta on the north-west and Gudur on the northeast, serving these naturally abundant and culturally rich southern states.
Full List of Railway Zones of India, Their Headquarters & Divisions!