The Southern Railway is one of the prominent and largest of Indian Railways Zones. It extends over the complete Indian Southern Peninsula. The Southern Railway covers the various states including Tamilnadu, Kerala, regionss of Andhra Pradesh, parts of Karnataka and Pondicherry.
The Southern Railway (SR) incorporates far away and long distance regions like Mangalore on the western coast, Kanniyakumari in the south to Gudur – North East and Renigunta – North West.
On 14th April 1951, the Southern Railway of India became the first Railway Zone to be inaugurated in independent India. It was created after amalgamating the South Indian Railway, the Madras, Southern Mahratta Railway and the Mysore state railway. It was originally created during the British colonial rule in 1853 and registered in 1859 when its offices were headquatered at Tiruchirapalli (Trichy).
There are six Divisional headquarters of Southern Railway at Chennai, Tiruchirapalli, Madurai, Salem, Palakkad, and Thiruvananthapuram. Approximately over 500 million passengers travel every year on the network of Southern Railways. This zone of the Indian Railways derives its revenue from the passengers instead of freight and that makes it stand apart from other railway zones of India.
A huge section of this railway zone is consisted of meter gauge lines in comparison to majority of other Indian Railways zones who have broad gauge lines. The major focus at present is directed at converting all lines to broad gauge, improving the facilities at stations, covering the platform, installing better catering stalls and incorporating an automated signaling system to prevent accidents.
As per the statistics on Chennai Central station, it serves nearly one million passengers daily. Six stations of the Southern Railway are being scheduled for upgrading including Chennai, Tiruchirapalli, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram. In fact, Chennai Central and Trivandrum Central railway stations are being transformed to world class standards.