Established on 14th April 1951, the Southern Railway was formed with the amalgamation of the Madras and Southern Maratha Railway, the South Indian Railway and the Mysore State Railway. Chugging over a vast network in India's peninsular region, the Southern Railway covers the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, the union territory of Pondicherry and parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
It is also the railway that connects the southernmost tip of mainland India, Kankyakumari, by rail. The Southern Railway is also the only railway network in India whose primary source of revenue is through passenger traffic and not freight.
Headquartered in Chennai, the Southern Railway is divided into the following six divisions:
Chennai - The capital of the state of Tamil Nadu, Chennai (formerly Madras) represents one of the epicenters of culture in South India. It serves as headquarters to the Southern Railway. The two stations, Chennai Central and Chennai Egmore serve transportation to the major cities of India as well as the interiors of Tamil Nadu.
Madurai - The second largest revenue earner in the Southern Railway after the Chennai division, Madurai serves as both an important railway station and division in South Tamil Nadu. Madurai, like Chennai, has a Mono-Rail project in the planning stages.
Tiruchchirappalli (Trichy) - Serving the state of Tamil Nadu and the union territory of Pondicherry, the Tiruchchirappalli division of the Southern Railways holds the unique honor of running railways developed both by the British and the French colonial empires in India.
Salem - The 'Mango City' or 'The City of Mountains', Salem is the 5th most populous city in Tamil Nadu. The Salem division of the Southern Railways was created through alterations to the Palakkad and Trichy divisions. The division was set up in 2007 and provides a link to the Mining, Handloom and Silver industries that are prominent within the division.
Palakkad - Previously Palghat, Palakkad holds the unique honor of being India's first Electrified District with no house under the district lacking electrical facilities. Being close to the Tamil Nadu border, Palakkad is situated in Kerala and serves as one of the important towns for trade within the states as it lies close the Palghat Gap in the Western Ghats.
Thiruvananthapuram - The capital of the state of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) is one of the most important cities of Southern India. It is Kerala's Information Technology hub and controls a majority of the state's software exports. Under the Southern Railways, the 'Evergreen City' is en route the longest train route in India, between Kanyakumari in South India to Dibrugarh is North East India.
South Eastern Railways - Previously the Bengal Nagpur Railways, the South-Eastern zone of the Southern Railways is headquartered in Kolkata and consists of four divisions namely, Adra, Chakradharpur, Kharagpur and Ranchi. An incredibly productive zone, the South-Eastern zone of the Southern Railways cater to almost forty percent of total freight traffic of the Indian railways despite being equipped with only twelve percent in terms of relative tracks. It is the zone which generates the highest revenue of all the sixteen zones of the Indian Railways.
South Western Railways - Established on 1 April 2003 by the merger of the Hubli division with the South Central Railway, the headquarters of the South-Western Zone is in Hubli. The zone is divided into three divisions namely, Hubli, Bangalore and Mysore. The zone has a complete track network spanning 3177 kilometers and serves the states of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
South Central Railways - Established on 2 October 1966, the South-Central Railways has six divisions namely, Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Guntakal, Guntur and Nanded. Serving the states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and bits of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh, the South-Central runs an incredible 693 passenger trains and covers 5852 kilometers of track.
South-East Central Railways - Headquartered at Bilaspur, the South-East Central Railways zone of the Southern Railways has three divisions, viz. Bilaspur, Nagpur and Raipur. A high output revenue earner for the Indian Railways, the 'SECR' caters to the states of Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Orissa giving access to one of the most industrious parts of India.
The Southern Railways is the gateway to the treasures held within the bounds of Peninsular India. The zone has been efficiently de-centralized into fit sub-zones which handle the mainly Passenger based traffic well. The Southern Railways is also one of the older divisions of the country and provides beautiful green views of the coastal and mountainous regions of South India from the windows of the chugging trains.
The entire necklace of the coastline of India, from Krishnapatnam, Chennai, Pondicherry, Tuticorin, Kanyakumari, Nagercoil, Trivandrum to Kozhikode are provided access through the Souther Railways.
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