The Southern Indian Railways is the first Railway zone that became liberated in the year 1951. On 14th April 1951, Southern Indian Railways came into being by combining three state railways together – Madras Railway, Mahratta Railway and Mysore Railway. Its current headquarters are in Chennai.
The Southern Indian Railways has been segregated into six divisions – Chennai, Madurai, Salem, Palakkad, Thiruvananthapuram and Tiruchirapalli. Estimates say that about 500 million passengers commute on Southern railway in a year. The fact that this is the only railway zone that derives its revenue from the passengers rather than freight makes it different from other zones.
The southern railway differs from other zones also because it has Meter Gauge whereas most other Railways have Broad Gauge. However there are various plans on board to bring in improvements and convert these into broad gauge. Other improvements that are required are improvement of stations; platforms should be covered, and automated signaling to avoid accidents and better catering stalls at the stations.
The approval of formation of new railway board in the year 2005 to develop the infrastructure and administration, by the railway board was a wise decision. Salem became the headquarters for this new division. Requests of passengers were rewarded as this new division helped in better train services and comfortable journeys. Coimbatore and Tiruppur (which is the highest revenue yielder place) are currently under the jurisdiction of Salem division. Salem is the division of Southern railways that came into being from the divisions of Tiruchirapalli and Palakkad.
Presently Chennai Central and Trivandrum Central are the most profitable stations. The Chennai Central station witnesses a million passengers daily. Two stations – Chennai Central and Trivandrum Central are being upgraded to World class standards. Other stations on list of up gradation are Coimbatore, Erode, Salem, Tiruchirapalli, Madurai, and Palakkad.