The ownership of the Railways, progressively from 1886 onwards, was acquired by the Government of India. The management and organisation of these acquired Railways was delegated to the Public Works Department - Railway Branch.
The Punjab Northern State Railway was, in 1886, the first railway in India to be nationalised.
In 1901, on the recommendations of the Sir Thomas Robertson Committee regarding the administration and working of the railways, an early version of the railway board was constituted, with three members serving on it at first. In 1905, its powers were formalised by the GoI. It consisted a Government Railway official, who was the Chairman of the Board, a Railway Manager from England and an Agent of a Company Railway .
Railway Board Members
- 1905, Chairman - Frederick Robert Upcott; Second Member - W H Wood; Third Member - Trevredyn Rashleigh Wynne; Secretary - N G Priestley 
- 1908-13,Chairman - Trevredyn Rashleigh Wynne .
- 1913-26, ?
- 1926-35, President - Percy Rothera, Sir M.Inst.C.E., Agent South Indian Railway Company(SIR) and Pondicherry Railway Company 
In 1921 a reoganisation of the Railway Board was carried out and a Chief Commissione of Railways was appointed 
Chief Commissioner of Railways
- 1922-28, Sir Clement Hindley
- 1928-29, Sir Austen Hadow
- 1929-40, Sir Guthrie Russell
- 1940-44, Sir Leonard Wildson
- 1944-46, Sir Arthur Griffin
- 1946-47, Col RB Emerson
- Wikipedia "Railway Board”; Retrieved on 22 Jun2016
- ”Government Resolution No 547 “Resolution for formation of Railway Board 1905”, reproduced on page 55 of Southern Railway Heritage Centre "Marvels of the South Indian Railway 1859-1951”
- “Google Books “India Office List 1905” page 8, pdf page 7; Retrieved 23 Jun 2016
- Grace’s Guide "Trevredyn Rashleigh Wynne"; Retrieved on 23 Jun 2016
- Southern Railway Heritage Centre,Trichinopoly "Marvels of the South Indian Railway 1859-1951", page 210
- Wikipedia "Chairmen of Railway Board"; Retrieved 23 Jun 2016