Indian Railway Zones And Their Headquarters PDF with Divisions

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Indian Railways, like a giant web of train tracks and moving trains, have always been the heart of India’s way of getting around. It’s like a massive spider’s web, linking big cities, far-off villages, and everything in between.

Every day, millions of people and loads of stuff travel from one place to another. To ensure this runs smoothly, they invented something called “railway zones.” These zones divide the railway into different parts, like how you’d slice a big pizza.

Understanding the Indian Railway Zones

Imagine the Indian Railways as a captivating maze of tracks, where each path leads to a new adventure. It might seem overwhelming at first, especially if you’re new to it.

But here’s the exciting part: this vast rail network is like a treasure map divided into 19 distinct zones, each covering its special piece of India.

These zones are like guardians of their regions, responsible for ensuring the trains run smoothly, the stations are in top shape, and the passengers are well cared for. It’s like having 19 mini-kingdoms spread across the country, each with its unique charm.

The story of these railway zones goes back to 1951 when the first three zones were born. It was like magic spreading across the land to ensure the trains reached every corner.

As the nation grew and its needs changed, more zones were created, like adding colours to an already vibrant painting. Each zone is like a character in a great novel, showcasing the beauty of India’s different landscapes, cultures, and languages.

So, when you hop on an Indian train, you’re not just going on a journey; you’re stepping into a world of stories, diversity, and adventure, all thanks to these amazing railway zones.

Zones and divisions of Indian Railways
Zones and divisions of Indian Railways (Photo: Wikimedia)

History of Indian Railway Zones

Picture this: freshly independent India was on the cusp of a grand adventure. But with its railways sprawling far and wide, it needed a plan. So, in 1951, something big happened.

The Indian Railways underwent a fantastic transformation, like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. This transformation brought to life the first six railway zones (1951-52): Northern Railway, North Eastern Railway, Eastern Railway, Southern Railway, Central Railway, and Western Railway.

Here is a detailed timeline of Indian Railway Zones:

1951-52: The Birth of Six Zones

  1. Northern Railway (NR)
  2. North Eastern Railway (NER)
  3. Eastern Railway (ER)
  4. Southern Railway (SR)
  5. Central Railway (CR)
  6. Western Railway (WR)

This initial division aimed to decentralize decision-making, improve operational efficiency, and cater to the specific needs of different regions.

Each zone was responsible for overseeing train operations, infrastructure maintenance, and passenger services within its designated geographical area.

1952: Southern Railway Split

In 1952, the Southern Railway was further divided into two zones:

  1. Southern Railway (SR)
  2. South Central Railway (SCR)

This division was primarily driven by the need to manage better the vast and diverse network of the Southern Railway, which encompassed a significant portion of India’s southern region.

1958: North Eastern Railway Restructured

In 1958, the North Eastern Railway was restructured, leading to the formation of two new zones:

  1. North Eastern Railway (NER)
  2. Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR)

1984: A Vision for Expansion

The Railway Reform Committee proposed the creation of four new zones to manage the burgeoning freight traffic and streamline operations. However, this proposal remained unrealized.

1990s: Efficiency Meets Politics

The 1990s witnessed renewed discussions on expanding railway zones to enhance administrative and operational efficiency. However, political considerations significantly shaped the final proposals.

1996: Six Zones Proposed

During Ram Vilas Paswan’s tenure as Railway Minister, six new zones were proposed and approved in principle:

  1. East Coast Railway
  2. East Central Railway
  3. North Central Railway
  4. North Western Railway
  5. South Western Railway
  6. West Central Railway.

Headquarters Controversies

The selection of headquarters for these zones was not without contention. Raipur and Bangalore were initially proposed as headquarters for East Coast Railway and South Western Railway, respectively, but were later replaced by Bhubaneshwar and Hubli (now Hubballi).

1998: South East Central Railway Joins the List

The South East Central Railway, with its headquarters at Bilaspur, was proposed in 1998 and received in-principle approval from the government in 1999.

2000-2002: A Period of Uncertainty

Progress on establishing the new zones remained slow, with limited administrative actions and even a temporary cancellation of staff appointments in 2000. The South Western Zone was inaugurated in 2002 without proper office space or clear functions.

2002: Official Notifications and Zone Creation

A turning point came in June 2002 when official notifications were issued for creating 2 more railway Zones.

  1. East Central
  2. North Western Railway zones.

In July, five more zones were officially established:

  1. East Coast
  2. North Central
  3. South Western
  4. West Central
  5. South East Central.

2003: New Zones Come into Effect

In April 2003, all newly created zones became fully operational, marking a significant milestone in the evolution of India’s railway network.

2019: Latest Addition

The South Coast Railway Zone (SCoR) is the latest addition to India’s railway network. It is headquartered in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, and encompasses the existing Waltair, Vijayawada, Guntur, and Guntakal divisions.

The zone’s jurisdiction extends across the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, and a small portion of Tamil Nadu. The South Coast Railway Zone was officially formed on February 27, 2019.

Significance of Railway Zones: A Holistic Approach to Rail Management

The division of Indian Railways into zones isn’t just about keeping the paperwork neat and tidy—it’s about unleashing the magic of decentralized decision-making. It’s about giving each zone its superhero cape to tackle local challenges head-on.

Like how a local guide knows all the hidden gems in their town, this way, everything runs smoother, and you, the passenger, get exactly what you need. It’s like a tailor-made suit but for railway operations!

But that’s not all. These zones are like chapters in a book, and each chapter tells a unique story. Imagine stepping into a different world with every new zone. The stations are like grand, ancient palaces in one and modern, sleek spaceships in another.

The trains wear coats of vibrant colours, and the staff greets you with warm smiles in various languages, making you feel like you’re stepping into different dimensions on a single journey. It’s like a treasure hunt where every stop has its secret to share, making your train adventure a journey of cultural exploration.

India’s railway network is one of the largest and most complex in the world. It has 19 railway zones, each with its own divisions and headquarters.

Understanding the organization and structure of these railway zones is essential for train enthusiasts, competitive exam aspirants, and anyone who wants to navigate this complex system efficiently.

Read Also: List of Renamed Railway Stations in India

Why is this knowledge important?

Knowing about Indian railway zones and their headquarters is important for a number of reasons:

  • It helps you understand the organization and structure of the Indian Railways.
  • It helps you navigate the complex railway network more efficiently.
  • It is valuable knowledge for train enthusiasts and competitive exam aspirants.
  • It is part of general awareness and Railway General Knowledge.

About Indian Railways

  • Indian Railways are a crucial mode of transportation for the common people in India, as they are the largest Departmental Undertaking in the country. According to records from March 2020, they are also a significant employer, with over 1.254 million employees, making them the world’s eighth-largest employment generator.
  • It is also the biggest rail network in Asia and the fourth largest in the world, with a route of 67,368 km (41,861 mi) and 7,325 stations, spanning over 126,366 km (78,520 mi) of the track.
  • Indian Railways operates in 19 zones across India, each of which is further divided into 70 divisions with their respective Divisional Headquarters.
  • In this article, we will explore some interesting facts about the railway division in India, a list of railway zones in India, railway zones, and headquarters. This information is relevant from an examination perspective and can be helpful to anyone looking to gain knowledge about Indian Railways.
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How Many Railway Zones in India?

  • The Indian Railway System currently has 19 zones (including Metro Railway, Kolkata) and 70 Divisions.
  • Indian Railways’s operations are divided into zones, which are further divided into sub-divisions. Each Division has a divisional headquarters.
  • South Coast Railway zone is the newest zone in India.
  • Visakhapatnam is the regional headquarters of the South Coast Railway zone.

List of 19 Railway Zones in India and their Headquarters

Here is the updated list of railway zones in India presented in a tabular format with headquarters:

Sl.NoRailway ZoneHeadquartersYear of EstablishmentStates CoveredNumber of DivisionsRailway Divisions
1.Central Railway (C.R.)Mumbai CSMT (Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus)1951Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh5Mumbai, Bhusawal, Pune, Solapur, Nagpur CR
2.Southern Railway (SR)Chennai Central1951Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Puducherry6Chennai, Tiruchirappalli, Madurai, Palakkad, Salem, Thiruvananthapuram
3.Northern Railway (N.R.)New Delhi1952Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand5Delhi, Ambala, Firozpur, Lucknow NR, Moradabad
4.Western Railway (WR)Church Gate, Mumbai1951Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh6Mumbai WR, Ratlam, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Vadodara
5.Eastern Railway (ER)Kolkata1952West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar4Howrah, Sealdah, Asansol, Malda
6.South-Eastern Railway (SER)Garden Reach, Kolkata1955West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha4Adra, Chakradharpur, Kharagpur, Ranchi
7.Kolkata Metro RailwayKolkata2009West BengalNot Applicable
8.South-Central Railway (SCR)Secunderabad1966Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra3Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Nanded
9.North-East Frontier Railway (NEFR)Maligaon (Guwahati)1958Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur5Alipurduar, Katihar, Rangiya, Lumding, Tinsukia
10.North-Eastern Railway (NER)Gorakhpur1952Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal3Izzatnagar, Lucknow NER, Varanasi
11.East-Central Railway (ECR)Hazipur1996Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh5Danapur, Dhanbad, Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, Samastipur, Sonpur
12.North-Western Railway (NWR)Jaipur2002Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat4Jaipur, Ajmer, Bikaner, Jodhpur
13.East-Coast Railway (ECoR)Bhubaneswar2003Odisha, Andhra Pradesh3Khurda Road, Sambalpur, Rayagada
14.North-Central Railway (NCR)Prayagraj (Allahabad)2003Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana3Prayagraj, Agra, Jhansi
15.South-Western Railway (SWR)Hubli2003Karnataka, Goa3Hubballi, Bengaluru, Mysuru
16.West-Central Railway (WCR)Jabalpur2003Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan3Jabalpur, Bhopal, Kota
17.South-East Central Railway (SECR)Bilaspur2003Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra3Bilaspur, Raipur, Nagpur SEC
18.Southern Coast Railway (SCoR)Visakhapatnam2019Andhra Pradesh, Odisha4Waltair, Vijayawada, Guntur, Guntakal
19.Konkan Railway (KR)Navi Mumbai1998Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka2Karwar, Ratnagiri

19th Railway Zones in India

  • Konkan Railway is one of the 19 railway zones in India.
  • It is headquartered at CBD Belapur in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
  • It was opened in 1998.
  • It connects the states of Maharashtra, Goa, and Karnataka.
  • It is 756.25 km (469.91 mi) long.
  • It has many innovations, such as anti-collision devices, the Sky Bus, and roll-on/roll-off.
  • Although the Konkan Railway is not typically regarded as a zone for operational purposes, it has the administrative status of an Indian Railways zone.
Read Also:  List of Railway Production Units in India

Facts about the Railway Zones in India

  • Kolkata has the largest number of railway zones in India.
  • Kolkata is the headquarters of the Eastern Zone, South Eastern Zone, and Metro Railway Zone Kolkata.
  • Northern Railway Zone is the largest railway zone in India.
  • Metro Railway, Kolkata became the 17th zone of the Indian Railways.
  • Southern Railway zone is India’s oldest railway zone (created on 14 April 1951).
  • South Coast Railway Zone (18th) is the new railway zone of India.

Major Railway Connecting Projects

Golden Quadrilateral

  • The Golden Quadrilateral consists of routes connecting the four major metropolises in India, namely New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata. These routes form a quadrilateral shape along with its diagonals.
  • This network is incredibly vital in terms of both passenger and freight transportation, carrying over 50% of the total freight and 47% of the total passenger traffic, even though it makes up only about 16% of the total route length.

Golden Diagonal

  • The Golden Diagonal consists of routes connecting Mumbai and Chennai via Wadi, Renigunta, and Mumbai and Howrah via Nagpur.

Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC)

  • Imagine a network of railways dedicated solely to the movement of goods across India – a system that streamlines freight transportation, making it faster, more efficient, and less congested.
  • This is the vision behind the Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs), a transformative project revolutionizing India’s cargo transport infrastructure.
  • The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) is the driving force behind this ambitious initiative. As the specialized entity responsible for planning, developing, and mobilizing financial resources, DFCCIL oversees these dedicated freight corridors’ construction, maintenance, and operation.
  • With broad gauge railway lines exclusively designed for freight trains, the DFCs are transforming the movement of goods across the country.
  • By separating freight traffic from passenger trains, these corridors will significantly reduce congestion, allowing for faster delivery times, improved efficiency, and enhanced passenger services.
Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) Project Map
Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) Project Map (Photo: dfccil.com)

India’s Railway Expansion Projects in Key Regions

Assam Rail Link

  • The Assam Rail Link was initiated in 1947 and completed in 1949. It aimed to reconnect Assam Railways with the rest of the Indian railway system.
  • This project was necessary due to the disconnection caused by the partition and the formation of (then) East Pakistan.
  • Within two years, a 229km meter-gauge line was built to re-establish this critical link.
  • The Assam Rail Link opened to passenger traffic on January 26, 1950, Republic Day.
  • To achieve this link, the Kishanganj branch of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was taken over and converted to a meter gauge, connecting it to the NER network at Barsoi.
  • The Teesta Valley Line was also taken over for meter gauge, but it was severely damaged by floods and had to be closed. The project included crossing the Teesta, Torsha, and Sankosh rivers.

Kashmir Rail Link

  • The ambitious Kashmir Rail Link project, also known as the Jammu Udhampur Srinagar Baramulla Railway Link (JUSBRL).
  • The project’s sole purpose is to connect the union territory of Kashmir or Kashmir Valley with India’s mainland rail network.
  • The overall project spans a challenging 356 km route.

Here we present a timeline of the key project:

  • 1983: The dream of connecting Kashmir by rail takes root as construction commences, marking the beginning of a long and arduous journey.
  • 2002: The project gains momentum as it receives the coveted status of a National Project, signalling the government’s commitment to its completion.
  • 2005: A significant breakthrough is achieved by completing the Jammu-Udhampur section, bringing rail connectivity closer to the Kashmir Valley.
  • 2009: The 119 km Qazigund-Baramulla section is inaugurated, marking a crucial step towards integrating the valley with the rail network.
  • 2014: The Udhampur-Katra section, a vital link in the project, is inaugurated, bringing the rail network closer to the revered Vaishno Devi shrine.
  • 2022: The project encounters delays due to the region’s challenging terrain and complex geology, particularly the Katra-Qazigund section, which includes the construction of the world’s tallest railway bridge over the Chenab River.
  • 2023: Despite the challenges, the project continues to progress, with the completion of the iconic Chenab Bridge. A trial run is conducted, and an announcement is made that 95% of the work has been completed, instilling hope for the project’s completion.

Once fully operational, the Kashmir Rail Link project will not only transform transportation in the region but also serve as a symbol of unity and progress, connecting the Kashmir Valley with the rest of India. While the completion date remains uncertain, the project’s significance and potential impact are undeniable.

Most Important Questions about Railway Zones in India

Total Railway Zones in India 2023?

Answer: 19 (As of 2023)
The total number of railway zones in India until 2023 is 19. These regions are divided into 70 divisions, each with its respective divisional headquarters.

Which is the largest rail network in the world?

Answer: United States
The United States has the biggest Rail network in the world followed by Russia, China, and India.

When did the first Metro rail come into existence?

Answer: 24 October 1924
The first metro rail in India began in Calcutta, West Bengal. It is known as the Calcutta Metro, now called the Kolkata Metro, and it commenced operations on October 24, 1984.

Who presented the first rail budget of Independent India?

Answer: John Mathai
John Mathai presented the first Railway budget for independent India in November 1947 and was the second finance minister of India from 1949 to 1951.

Which Railway Zone is the biggest in India?

▪ Answer: Northern Railway Zone
The Northern Railway Zone is the largest in India, with a route of 6968 km. The Northern Railway (NR) is headquartered at Baroda House in New Delhi, India. It is divided into five divisions: Delhi, Ambala, Firozpur, Lucknow NR, and Moradabad.

Who is the Head of Railway Divisions?

Answer: Divisional Railway Manager (DRM)
The Railway division is headed by a Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), who reports to the General Manager of that railway zone.

Management of Railway Zones in India

  • India’s vast railway network is divided into zones, each overseeing a specific geographical area. Each zone is subdivided into divisions, ensuring a well-organized and efficient management structure.
  • A General Manager (GM) is in charge of each zone, and a Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) leads each division.
  • The DRM’s job is to make sure the division runs smoothly, and they get some help from one or two Additional Divisional Railway Managers (ADRM).
  • Many department heads, such as those for engineering, mechanical, electrical, accounts, personnel, safety, and more, report to the DRM.
  • Interestingly, the DRM can be picked from any of the eight organized services in Indian Railways.
  • They usually work for about three years, but this time can be longer if the Railway Board suggests it.
  • This structured way of managing things helps us run the railways well in different parts of the country.

Conclusion

Knowledge of Indian railway zones and their headquarters is important for upcoming competitive exams such as WBCS, SSC, UPSC, and State-Based Exams, as it is a part of general awareness and Railway General Knowledge.

This blog post has provided a list of the 19 railway zones in India and their headquarters and a PDF download of the list. We hope this information is helpful for your exam preparations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1. How many zones is the Indian railway divided into?

Answer: 19 (Including Konkan and Kolkata Metro Railway Zone)

Q2. Which is the oldest railway zone in India?

Answer: Southern Railway

Q3. Which railway zone is the largest?

Answer: Northern Railways

Q4. Which state has the maximum railway zone?

Answer: Kolkata (3 Railway zones)

Q5. Which is the new railway zone in India?

Answer: South Coast Railway Zone

Indian Railway Zones And Their Headquarters PDF with Divisions: Download ink

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▪ File Name- Railway Zones in India PDF with  Headquarters and Divisions
▪ File Size - 158KB
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▪ Category - General Knowledge
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As a professional blogger and passionate educator, I am driven by a deep-seated desire to share knowledge and empower others. With years of experience in the field, I am committed to providing valuable insights and guidance to aspiring learners. My passion lies in helping individuals discover their potential and achieve their goals. I am also a firm believer in the power of motivation and strive to inspire others to pursue their dreams with unwavering determination.

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