Madras Railway

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Madras Railway
Madras Central Station.jpg
Madras Central Railway Station
Line of route
Madras to Bangalore
Madras to Raichur
Madras to Waltair (Vizagapatam)
Jalarpet to Mangalore
Gauge / mileage
Broad gauge 904 miles (1905)
Broad gauge 497 miles (1905) - North East line
1845 Company formed
1856 First section of line open to traffic
1889 Branch line Calicut-Azikhal Railway opened
1907 Line acquired by State
1908 Jalarpet to Mangalore transferred to South Indian Railway
Key locations
Presidency Madras
Stations Bezwada, Calicut, Coimbatore, Erode, Guntakal, Nellore, Rajahmundry, Renigunta
System agency
Own agnecy
How to interpret this infobox
Madras Railway
[[Image:|150px| ]]
System timeline
1907 Merged with Southern Mahratta Railway to form Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway
Constituent companies / lines
Madras Railway
Kolar Gold Fields Railway
1903 Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Shoranur-Cochin Railway
Key locations
Headquarters Madras
Workshops Perambore
Major Stations Bezwada, Bangalore, Calicut, Cochin, Coimbatore, Erode, Guntakal, Mangalore, Nellore, Ootacamund, Rajahmundry, Renigunta
Successor system / organisation
1951 Southern Railway {IR zone)
System mileage
Broad gauge 1411 miles (1905)
Metre gauge 82 miles (1905)
Associated auxiliary force
Madras Railway Volunteers
How to interpret this infobox

The Madras Railway Company(MR) was formed provisionally in July 1852 to acquire lands in the “East Indies” and to construct and work a railway or railways in that territory. In December of that year the railway company contracted with the East India Company to construct and maintain an “experimental line of railway” from Madras to (or towards) the west coast of India. [1]

The first section of line, from Madras to Arcot, was not opened to traffic until 1 July 1856.

In 1859, its object was given as "the construction and working of a railway from Madras to the western coast at Beypore, with branches to Bangalore and the Neilgherries; also of a line from Madras, via Bellary, to join the line from Bombay - total, about 820 miles." [2]


Headquartered in Madras, whence its lines radiated, the Madras Railway was built to Broad Gauge(BG).

In 1887, July-September, the engineer Charles Albert Bull is recorded as being deployed from the Railway Branch of the Public Works Department to undertake a survey, this would be to continue the expansion of the MR network.

In 1901 the southern part of East Coast State Railway(ECSR), renamed Madras (North-East) Railway was transferred to MR.

It was the last guaranteed railway to fall to Government of India (GoI) ownership (31 December 1907).

In 1908, the northern portion (ie the north east, north west and Bangalore branches) was merged with the Southern Mahratta Railway(SMR) to form the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway(M&SMR). The southern section of line (Jalarpet to Mangalore) became part of the South Indian Railway(SIR).

The GoI took over the management of the M&SMR on 1 April 1944.

On 14 April 1951, M&SMR together with SIR and MSR became Southern Railway, a zone of Indian Railways.

Railways absorbed into MR

Railways worked by MR at some time


Refer to FIBIS Fact File #4: “Research sources for Indian Railways, 1845-1947” - available from the Fibis shop. This Fact File contains invaluable advice on 'Researching ancestors in the UK records of Indian Railways' with particular reference to the India Office Records (IOR) held at the British Library

An on-line search of the IOR records relating to this railway [3] gives many references. The most important being:-

  • L/AG/46/15 “Records of the Madras Railway Company; 1852-1937”
  • L/AG/46/33 “Records of the India Office relating to the Madras and Southern MahrattaRailway Company; 1882-1930”

Unfortunately there are no Staff agreements held at the British Library in the India Office Records.


  1. H.M. Government “Statute Law Repeals: Nineteenth Report : Draft Statute Law (Repeals) Bill; April 2012"; pages 130-132, paragraphs 3.65-3.73 Retrieved on 2 January 2016
  2. "Money Market and City Intelligence", The Times, Wednesday, 15 June 1859, #23333, 7a.1
  3. “British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue” - Search; Retrieved 26 Jan 2016