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Railway Zones in India

Indian Railway is a reputed and one of the largest organizations in India. It is spread throughout the country. So, to ensure smooth functioning and manage the organization effectively, it has been divided into zones that are further divided into divisions. Each division has its own divisional headquarter. As of now, there are 18 railway zones and 70 divisions in India. The head of each division is Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) who reports to the General Manager (GM) of the railway zone.

The list of railway zones in India is as follows:

  1. Central Railway
  2. East Central Railway
  3. East Coast Railway
  4. Eastern Railway
  5. Konkan Railway
  6. North Central Railway
  7. North Eastern Railway
  8. North Western Railway
  9. Northeast Frontier Railway
  10. Northern Railway
  11. South Central Railway
  12. South East Central Railway
  13. South Eastern Railway
  14. South Western Railway
  15. Southern Railway
  16. West Central Railway
  17. Western Railway
  18. Southern Coast Railway

1) Central Railway

It is one of the largest zones of Indian Railways which is headquartered at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in Mumbai. It is known for starting the first passenger railway line in India from Mumbai to Thane on 16 April 1853. It also handles the Mumbai Suburban Train System that goes towards CST to Kalyan station. The divisions of this zone include Pune, Solapur, Nagpur, Bhusawal, and Mumbai.

It was formed on 05 November 1951 by combining several government-owned railways as well as the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, Nizam State Railway, Dholpur Railways, etc. Some of the major trains that run under Central Railway include Pushpak Express, Gitanjali Express, Punjab Mail, Deccan Queen and Hussain Sagar Express.

The freight business carried out by Central Railway generates huge revenue for the Indian Railways. For example, commodities like onion, sugar, cement, petroleum products are transported using this zone.


2) Eastern Railway

It is abbreviated as ER and is counted among the 18 zones of Indian Railways. It is headquartered at Kolkata in India and has four divisions that include Malda, Howrah, Sealdah and Asansol. Each division is named after the city where it is headquartered.

Furthermore, eastern railway zone comprises most of the A1 & A category stations like Sealdah, Howrah, Asansol, Bhagalpur, Bandel, etc. It was established on 14 April 1952 and was formed by merging the three lower divisions of the East Indian Railway; Asansol, Howrah and Danapur. Suneet Sharma is the current GM of eastern railway zone as of March 2020.


3) East Central Railway Zone

East Central Railway Zone, which is abbreviated as ECR, is one of the 18 railway zones in India. Its headquarters is located at Hajipur and its divisions include Danapur, Sonpur, Samastipur, Dhanbad and Mughalsarai divisions.

Formerly, it was established on 08 September 1996. However, it started its operations on 01 October 2002. It was carved out of Eastern and North Eastern Railway. The current GM of east-central railway zone is Lalit Chandra Trivedi as of November 2019.


4) East Coast Railway

It is abbreviated as ECoR and is one of the 18 railway zones of Indian Railways. It was established on 01 April 2003 and is headquartered at Bhubaneswar. After the approval of parliament, east coast railway was inaugurated by the then prime minister of India H.D. Deve Gowda on 08 August 1996. In the beginning, only Khurda division was attached to this zone.

Later, it became fully operational on 01 April 2003. It has three divisions that are Khurda Road, Waltair and Sambalpur. Some of the major railway stations in the east coast zone are Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Sambalpur, Jaipur Keonjhar Road, Puri, Visakhapatnam, etc. Shri Vidya Bhushan was appointed as General Manager of East Coast railway on 04 February 2019.


5) Konkan Railway

It is abbreviated as KR and is operated by the Konkan Railway Corporation. It is headquartered at CBD Belapur in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. The first passenger train travelled between Udupi and Mangalore on Konkan railway track on 20 March 1993. Due to the hilly terrain, the tract underwent various developments, later, first train on the new track ran on 26 January 1998. As of now (June 2020) Sanjay Gupta is the Chairman and Managing Director of Konkan Railway Corp. Ltd.


6) North Central Railway

This zone is abbreviated as NCR. Its largest railway station is Kanpur Central. Its headquarters is located at Allahabad and has three divisions that include Jhansi, Agra and Allahabad.

North Central Railway in its current form was set up on 01 April 2003. Its network mostly covers North Central India, e.g., Delhi, Uttara Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. The current GM of the north-central railway as of June 2020 is Sh. Rajiv Chaudhary. He took charge as general manager w.e.f 20 September 2018.

Some of the major railway stations of the zone include Gwalior Junction, Mathura Junction, Jhansi Junction, Agra Cantonment, Kanpur Central, etc. Besides this, the major trains of this route include Prayagraj express, Shram Shakti express, Kanpur-New Delhi Shatabdi Express, Chambal express, and more.


7) North Eastern Railway

It is abbreviated as NER and is one of the 18 railway zones in India. Its headquarters is located at Gorakhpur. It is one of the main transit zones, which is used to carry loaded wagons such as food grains from Northern Railway divisions towards the eastern belt and northern frontier region. The divisions of north eastern railway include Izzatnagar, Varanasi, and Lucknow NER.

Most of the trains for the economically weaker sections belong to the NER. So, it helps maintain a balance between social and commercial goals of the Indian Railways. Some of the major junctions of this zone include Lucknow Junction, Chhapra Junction and Gorakhpur Junction. The current General Manager of the north eastern railway as of October 2020 is Vinay Kumar Tripathi.


8) North Western Railway

It is abbreviated as NWR and is one of the 18 railway zones in India. Its headquarters is located in Jaipur. It was established on 01 October 2002 and comprises four divisions; Jodhpur, Bikaner, Jaipur and Ajmer. NWR was created by carving out this zone from the Northern and Western Railways. Its foundation stone was laid down by the then prime minister H. D. Dewegowda. It also operates the international rail service 'Thar express' that travels from Jodhpur to Karachi.

The total number of stations in this zone is 578, which covers over 5000 km long route. Some of the major trains operated by North Western Railway include Marudhar Express, Marusagar Express, Palace Queen Humsafar Express, Hazrat Nizamuddin (Udaipur City Mewar Superfast Express). The current General Manager of Northern Western Railway as of July 2020 is Anand Prakash.


9) Northeast Frontier Railway

This Indian railway zone is abbreviated as NFR. It is headquartered in Maligaon, Guwahati. It comprises five divisions Alipurduar, Lumding, Rangiya, Tinsukia and Katihar. It was established on 14 April 1958 to offer better services to the northeastern states. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is maintained and operated by katihar division.

The current General Manager of Northeast Frontier Railway as of 2019 is Shri Sanjive Roy. Some of the major sections under this railway zone are New Bongaigaon-Guwahati section, Guwahati-Lumding section, Katihar-Siliguri section and Lumding-Dibrugarh section.

In 2019, Indian Railway had decided that 11 railway stations that come under Northeast Frontier Railway will be upgraded to offer airport like facilities to passengers. These railway stations include Agartala, Barsoi, Dibrugarh, Kamakhya, Guwahati, Lumding, Katihar, New Tinsukia, Purnea, Kishanganj, and Dimapur.


10) Northern Railway

It is one of the 18 railway zones in India that is abbreviated as NR. It is headquartered is at Baroda House, in New Delhi, India. It was established on 14 April 1952 by combining Bikaner Railway, Jodhpur Railway, Eastern Punjab Railway and 3 divisions of the East Indian Railway. The current General Manager of Northern Railway as of March 2020 is Shri Rajiv Chaudhary.

Northern Railway has five divisions that include Delhi, Firozpur, Ambala, Lucknow NR, and Moradabad. Some of the major railway stations that come under this zone include Delhi Junction, Anand Vihar Terminal, Ayodhya Junction, Chandigarh, Lucknow Charbagh, Varanasi Junction, Bareilly Junction, Haridwar Junction, and more.

On 19 February 1986, it became the first railway zone to launch the computerized reservation system for passengers. It was also the northern railway that introduced first diesel and electric locomotive simulators in India. Besides this, the northern railway operates various workshops such as Locomotive workshop at Charbagh railway station in Lucknow, Bridge workshop at Jalandhar Cantonment, Signal & Telecom workshop at Ghaziabad.


11) South Central Railway

It is abbreviated as SCR and is one of the 18 zones of Indian railways. It has three divisions under its control that include Hyderabad, Nanded, and Secunderabad. Formerly, it had six divisions 3 out of which (Guntur, Vijayawada and Guntakal) were separated to establish South Coast Railway Zone in 2019 after the reorganization of SCR. However, it exercises its jurisdiction over Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra.

It was established on 02 October 1966. The current General Manager of South Central Railway zone (as of January 2020) is Gajanan Mallya. In this zone, over 700 trains run in a day and around 5 lakh passenger travel in this zone in a day.

There are two workshops under this zone that are located at Lallaguda and Mettuguda at Secunderabad. Besides this, it became the first railway zone in India to have 100 % led lighting at the railway stations under its jurisdiction. In 2018, it was declared the second cleanest railway zone in India.


12) South East Central Railway

It is one of the eighteen railway zones in India. It is abbreviated as SECR and is headquartered at Bilaspur. SECR comprises three divisions which are Raipur, Nagpur SEC and Bilaspur. Formerly, it was part of South Eastern Railway. Its inauguration was held on 20 September 1998, however, it was opened for the public of nation on 01 April 2003.

The network of this zone is around 2500 Route Kilometres (RKM) and 4900 Track Kilometres (TKM). The major railway stations of this zone include Bilaspur, Itwari railway station, Bhandara road, Gondia, Durg, Rajnandgaon, Raigarh, Anuppur, etc. At present as of June 2020, the General Manager of South East Central Railway is Shri Gautam Banerjee, he assumed office in 2019.


13) South Eastern Railway

It is abbreviated as SER and is headquartered at Garden Reach in Kolkata. It comprises four divisions that include Adra, Ranchi, Kharagpur and Chakradharpur. It is a part of Eastern Railways. Formerly, it was known as Bengal Nagpur Railway (BNR). It was established in August 1955 after the separation of BNR from the Eastern Railway Zone.

It offers services to the states of Odisha, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. It also operates electric multiple units (EMU) in the regions adjacent to Kolkata for example from Howrah to Kharagpur. Besides this, this zone also operates freight traffic to Haldia and Kolkata. The General Manager of South Eastern Railway as of March 2020 is Sanjay Kumar Mohanty. He took charge as a GM in 2009.


14) South Western Railway

It is abbreviated as SWR and is headquartered at Hubli Karnataka. It has three divisions that include Hubballi, Mysuru and Bengaluru. It was established in 2003 by carving out Bangalore and Mysore divisions from Southern Railways and Hubli division from South Central Railways.

This zone caters to most of the railway lines in the Karnataka state of India except for Konkan Railway. Some of the major trains that run under this zone are Yesvantpur-Latur Express, Rani Chennamma Express, Yesvantpur-Shivamogga Town Express, etc. At present, as of June 2020, the General Manager of South Western Railway is Ajay Kumar Singh. He took charge of this zone as a GM on 27 October 2018.


15) Southern Railway

It is one of the 18 railway zones in India that is abbreviated as SR. Its headquarters is located at Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It has six divisions; Madurai, Chennai, Salem, Tiruchirappalli, Palakkad, and Thiruvananthapuram.

This zone was established on 14 April 1951 by combining railways of three states; Mysore State Railway, South Indian Railway Company and the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway. It offers services in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and in few regions of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Over 50 crore passengers travel on its route in a year.

The current General Manager of Southern Railway as of June 2020 is John Thomas. He assumed the office in 2019. The network of this zone is around 5000 km route.


16) West Central Railway

It is abbreviated as WCR and is headquartered at Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. This zone is divided into three divisions that include Bhopal, Kota and Jabalpur. It was established on 01 April 2003 by merging the Jabalpur and Bhopal division of the Central Railway Zone (CR) and the Kota division of the Western Railway zone (WR).

This zone caters to eastern & central Madhya Pradesh, south region of Uttar Pradesh and north and east regions of Rajasthan state. The major railway stations that come under this zone include Kota, Bhopal, Itarsi, Pipariya and Jabalpur. The Mumbai-Howrah route also comes under its jurisdiction.

Over 300 mail express and over 90 passenger trains are operated by this zone. Besides this, over 10 crore passengers travel on the routes of this zone in a year. The current General Manager of Central Railway Zone as of June 2020 is Sanjeev Mittal.


17) Western Railway

It is one of the 18 railway zones in India that is abbreviated as WR and is headquartered at Churchgate, Mumbai, and Maharashtra. Its divisions include Ratlam, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Vadodara, Bhavnagar, and Mumbai WR. The current General Manager of Western Railway Zone as of June 2020 is Shri Alok Kansal.

This zone was established on 05 November 1951 by merging various state-owned railways. It caters to the state of Gujarat including some portions of Western Madhya Pradesh and coastal Maharashtra. The major routes that come under this zone includes Mumbai Central-Ahmedabad, Mumbai Central-Ratlam, and Palanpur-Ahmedabad.


18) Southern Coast Railway

The establishment of this railway zone was announced by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in 2019. Its headquarters will be located at Visakhapatnam and it will be the 18th railway zone in the country. The divisions of this zone will include Guntakal, Vijayawada, Guntur, divisions that currently serve as divisions in the South Central Railway.






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