Madras Railways & Stations

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Madras Railways & Stations


Madras Railways

Railways in Madras 1908
Madras City Map 1893

Details of each line are as follows [1]:-

Madras Railway(MR) Broad Gauge Main Lines
Marked Blue on 1908 Map
These three Broad Gauge (BG) lines were constructed by ‘Madras Railway’(MR)
From 1908 became the BG section of the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway

‘M&SMR Broad Gauge Division’ - see separate page

  • ‘North-East Main Line’, also called the ‘East Coast Line’, 480 miles(772km), BG, opened by the ‘Madras Railway’(MR) in stages dates from 1888 from Madras via Nellore to Waltair. The initial terminus was at ‘Washermanpet Station’ in northern Madras, extended to ‘Basin Bridge Junction Station’ in 1907 where it joined the ‘Royapuram Branch Line’ via ‘Vyasarpadi Station’ to ‘Madras Central Station’ .

    See page ‘North-East Madras-Waltair Main Line’ - for further details

  • ‘South-West Main Line’, 133 miles(214km), BG, opened 1856-60 by ‘Madras Railway’(MR) from ‘Vyasarpadi Station’ (2 miles from Madras City) via Arkonum Junction to Jalarpet and onward to the west coast. The first 2 miles(3km) into ‘Madras Central Station’ was completed in 1873.

See page ‘South-West Madras-Jalapet Mainline’ - for further details

  • ‘North-West Main Line’, BG, from ‘Madras Central Station’, using the ‘South-West Main Line’ as far as Arkonum Junction then the ‘Arkonam-Raichur NW Mainline’, 308 miles(496km) to Raichur. At Raichur the line connected to the ‘Great Indian Peninsula Railway’ (GIPR) connecting to Bombay.

See page ‘North-West Arkonam-Raichur NW Mainline’- for further details

South Indian Railway(SIR) Metre Gauge Mainline
Marked Green on 1908 Map

See page ‘SIR Metre Gauge - for further details

  • ‘Madras Harbour Branch’. The 1893 Map shows a branch from ‘Madras Egmore Station’ to the south side of the harbour

Madras Stations

Madras Railway Stations

Madras Railway(MR) Stations

  • ‘Washermanpet Station’ marked Blue W on City Map. The original terminus of the ‘North-East Main Line’
  • ‘Basin Bridge Junction Station’ marked Blue B on City Map. Junction with the ‘Royapuram Branch Line’ via ‘Vyasarpadi Station’ to ‘Madras Central Station’ .
  • ‘Vyasarpadi Station’ marked Blue V on Map. Original Terminal of the ‘South-West Main Line’ until opening of the ‘Madras Central Station’
  • ‘Royapuram Harbour Station’ (Old Railway Terminus )) marked Blue R on City Map. A short branch line from ‘Vyasarpadi Station’ to the north side of the harbour. Later described as ‘Madras Beach Station’
  • ‘Madras Central Station’ - marked Red on City Map, at Park Town, opened by ‘Madras Railway’ in 1873 as the terminal of the ‘South-West Main Line’. Also the Terminus for the ‘North-East Main Line’ from 1907‘ with the opening of the ‘Royapuram Branch Line’. Some early records describe this station as the ‘Madras City Station’ . See full description below
  • ‘Perambur Station’ marked Blue P on City Map . The 1893 Map shows nearby ‘Madras Railway Perambur Railway Workshops ‘ and branch to the ‘Queens Foundry’

South Indian Railway(SIR) Stations

  • ‘Madras Egmore Station’ marked Green E on City Map - See full description below
  • ‘Madras South Harbour Station’ marked Green H on City Map, as shown on the 1893 Map.
  • ‘Saidpet Station’ marked Green S on City Map, and branch line shown on 1893 Map to ‘Government Farm Rail Siding’’
  • ‘Chetpet Station’ marked Green C on City Map

Madras Central Station

Madras Central Station

The following is extracted from Wikipedia - Chennai (Madras) Central Railway Station[2]:-

The century-old building of the railway station, designed by architect George Harding, is one of the most prominent landmarks of Chennai. The station is also a main hub for the Chennai Suburban Railway system. It lies adjacent to the current headquarters of the Southern Railway and the Ripon Building. During the British Raj, the station served as the gateway to South India, and the station is still used as a landmark for the city and the state. The station was renamed twice; first to reflect the name change of the city from Madras to Chennai in 1996 it was renamed from Madras Central to Chennai Central. In 2019 as Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. M.G. Ramachandran Central Railway Station on 5 April 2019
The ‘Madras Railway Company’ began to network South India in 1856. The first station was built at Royapuram, which remained the main station at that time. Expansion of the ‘Madras Railway’, particularly the completion of the Madras-Vyasarpadi line, called for a second station in Madras, resulting in Madras Central coming into being. Built in 1873 at Parktown as a second terminus to decongest the Royapuram harbour station, which was being utilised for port movements.
In 1907, Madras Central was made the ‘Madras Railway’ main station. The station gained prominence after the beach line was extended further south in the same year, and Royapuram was no longer a terminus for Madras. All trains were then terminated at Madras Central instead.
The ‘Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway Company’ (M&SMR) was formed in 1908 and took over the Central station from the ‘Madras Railway Company’. The station's position was further strengthened after the construction of the headquarters of the M&SMR adjacent to it in 1922.

At the same time in 1908 the ‘South Indian Railway’ (SIR) terminus was opened and named ‘Madras Egmore Station’, plans were first made of linking Madras Central and Egmore, which were later dropped.

Madras Egmore Station

The following is extracted from Wikpedia - Chennai (Madras) Egmore Railway Staion [3]:-

History says that the station was actually a fort, called the Egmore Redoubt, which is a part of Santhome, Madras. It is said that the station came up in a place that once used to store ammunition for the British.
The station building was constructed on a 2.5 acres (1.0 ha) land, for which 1.8 acres (0.73 ha) was acquired from S. Pulney Andy, an English physician, who, in his letter to the 'Collector of Madras,' initially refused to sell his property owing to the difficulty with which he had purchased and developed the property. However, the ‘South Indian Railway’(SIR) Company, which was then operating train services to the south, persuaded him to sell the land, for which Andy claimed Rs.1 lakh (US$1,400) as compensation. After acquiring the land, the SIR invited Henry Irwin, CIE (chief engineer) and E. C. Bird, company architect, to design a building to suit the traffic need.
After several alterations in the plan, the construction work began in September 1905 and was completed in 1908. It was constructed by a Contractor for Rs.17 lakh.
The station was officially opened on 11 June 1908. There was initially a demand that the station be named after Robert Clive, which was, however, strongly opposed by the public as they wanted to name it Egmore. The station became the major meter-gauge terminal and served as the gateway due to its acting as a connecting point for passengers from the south to the newly formed ‘Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway -Madras Central Station ’ for boarding north,- west- and east-bound trains. With the opening of the Egmore railway station, plans were first made of linking the Madras Egmore Station to the Central Station, which was later dropped.
Irwin and Bird worked on the design of the building, which was sympathetically added to in the 1930s and 1980s. In the 1990s it was converted into a major broad gauge terminal, a role in which it became operational in 1998.