Southern Indian Railway (SR) is the one of the sixteen zones of the Indian Railways that was established in independent India. The zone was established on April 14, 1951 with a merger of 3 state railways consisting of Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway, Mysore State Railway and South Indian Railway. Originally, it was formed during British rule in India, when Great Southern India Railway Co. was established in Britain. In the beginning, its headquarters were in Tiruchirappalli.
Currently, the zone has its headquarters situated in Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu. South Indian Railway zone has been divided into 6 divisions namely Chennai, Salem, Madurai, Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad and Tiruchirapalli. The railway covers many states consisting of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Pondicherry along with other little segments of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Over 500 million passengers commute via South Indian railway network annually. The zone differs from other zones of Indian railways as it derives its revenue from passengers instead of freight.
For better administration, Railway Board approved the formation of new Railway Division in 2005 with Salem as its headquarters. The formation of this division has been of great help in launching better train services, thus fulfilling the needs of passengers. Coimbatore and Tiruppur, the highest revenue yielder for the zone, are now integrated in Salem division. Salem, the newer division of Southern Railways has been carved out from Tiruchirapalli and Palakkad divisions.
Major parts of the Southern zone are Broad Gauge lines and only small parts are Meter Gauge lines. Many new plans for improvement would be charged to convert all lines to Broad gauge lines, platform covering and improved catering stalls. To prevent accidents, an automated signal system would also be introduced. The Central Station in Chennai serves more than 1 million passengers every day. Stations of Chennai, Madurai, Tiruchirapalli, Thiruvanathapuram and Thiruvanathapuram have been chosen for upgradation.
Other major Indian railway zones is as follows:
Central Indian Railways: This is the oldest of Indian railway zones and one of the largest of the 16 zones formed by Indian railways.
Eastern Indian Railways: The Eastern Railway (ER) zone is one of the important Indian Railway zones. With its headquarters in Kolkata, the Eastern Zone is divided further into four divisions namely Mald, Howrah, Asansol and Sealdah for better working.
Northern Indian Railways: It is one of the nine older zones of Indian Railways. New Delhi, the national capital of India serves as headquarters of this Indian Railway Zone.
Western Indian Railways: This Indian railways zone is amongst the most hustling and lively rail networks of the country. The headquarters of Western Indian Railway is situated in Mumbai city.