Southern Indian Railway is the only zone in India that generates its revenue from passengers rather than freight.

Southern Indian Railway

Headquarters: Chennai
Divisions: Chennai, Madurai, Palghat, Tiruchchirapalli, Trivandrum, Salem
Established on: 14 April 1951

Southern Railway (SR) is credited to be the first railway zone that sought establishment in liberated India. On April 14th 1951, Southern Railway was established by combining three state railways including Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway, South Indian Railway and Mysore State Railway. Initially, the Southern Railway was formed in the British times, when Great Southern India Railway Co. was initiated in Britain (1853). At the outset, Tiruchirappalli was designated as its headquarters. However, it got registered as a company in 1890 at London.

The capital city of Tamil Nadu, Chennai serves as the headquarters of Southern Railway. The zone has been segregated into six divisions namely Chennai, Madurai, Salem, Palakkad, Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) and Tiruchirapalli. The Southern Railways encompasses several states including Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Kerala as well as little segments of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Over 500 million passengers commute on the southern railway network annually. As a matter of fact, this zone derives all its revenue from passengers rather than freight, making it different from other zones of Indian Railways.

In 2005, Railway Board approved formation of new Railway division to develop the railway infrastructure and for better administration. Salem was held as the headquarters for the new division. The creation of this division helped a lot to launch better train services, hence rewarding the requests of railway passengers. The places like Coimbatore and Tiruppur (highest revenue yielder) are currently integrated in division of Salem. Salem is the infant division of the Southern Railway that shaped out from divisions of Palakkad and Tiruchirapalli.

Most of the section of Southern Railway has Meter Gauge, which is a contrast to maximum railways having Broad Gauge. Soon, various plans for improvement would be charged to renovate all tracks to Broad Gauge, develop stations, swathe platforms and superior catering stalls. An automated signal system would also be installed to avoid accidents. Chennai Central Station is known to serve 1 million passengers daily. Advancement of stations including Chennai, Tiruchirapalli, Madurai, Palghat and Thiruvanathapuram is under the process.