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Central Railway, The Backbone Of Indian Railways Sharing The Major Traffic

With a distinction of being the largest passenger carrying network in the Indian Railway system, the Central Railway has evolved into one of the largest zones among the 16 Railway zones in the country. It is also credited with the distinction of having the first Railway in the country, which ran from Bombay to Thane in 1853. Throughout the country, this is the zone, which has approximate passenger traffic of 4 lakh passengers on a daily basis.


It was under the Great Indian Peninsular Railway that the first train from Mumbai to Thane was run in 1853. It ran from presently named CST to Thane and ushered a completely new era in Indian Railways. From the Greater Indian Peninsula Railway, the Central Railway was formed in 1951. It covered a large part of the state of Maharashtra, north eastern Karnataka and southern Madhya Pradesh.

  • This zone was formed by the merger of various state owned and princely Railway Divisions such as Greater Indian Peninsular Railway, Scindia State Railway of the former princely state of Gwalior, Nizam State Railway and the Dholpur Railways.
  • Previously, included in the Central Railway zone were northern Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh states and some part of Uttar Pradesh, which were later converted into West Central Railway in 2003.

Divisions and jurisdictions

Central Railway consists of 5 divisions namely the Mumbai CST, Bhusawal, Nagpur, Sholapur, and Pune divisions. This zone has a presence over the states of Maharashtra, parts of north eastern Karnataka and southern Madhya Pradesh.

  • After the reorganisation of the Indian Railway system was finished in 2003, the Central Railway had 3905 kms of route with 476 stations.
  • It carries over 4 lakh passengers to different destinations all over the country in about 548 trains of the mail, passenger and express category.
  • Mumbai suburban train is a part of this zone of Indian Railway which carries 3 million commuters everyday in about 1236 local trains going to about 73 stations. There are also 40 suburban trains running in the Pune – Lonavla section.
  • Bhusaval division is located in the Jalgaon district of Maharashtra. This division was formed under the GIP Railway in 1920 and many lines from Bhusaval were extended to nearby cities. In 1951, this division was included in the Central Railway zone, and in 1962, the Central Railway Zonal Training School was established here.
  • Mumbai division was the first in India to create history in the Indian Railways, when the steam train from Boribunder to Thane was flagged off in 1853. Mumbai division has the two of the oldest Railway Workshops in the country at Parel and Matunga. The route kms of Mumbai division is 564. It falls entirely within the state of Maharashtra. This is the division which serves the financial, commercial and industrial capital of the country and the suburban train system is the lifeline of the division. This is also running the narrow gauge train from Nerul to Matheran, also known as the Matheran Light Railway since 1907 and is a popular tourist attraction.
  • Pune division was brought into force in 1996, with its jurisdiction only in the Pune – Lonavla line. But in 203, more tracks were added to this division to take the route kms to 503 kms. This division includes 4 districts of the state of Maharashtra only. There are about 71 stations which handle about 3.35 crores of suburban and 3.63 crores of non-suburban passengers on an annual basis. Plenty of goods and freight trains are found in this division which carry sugar, maize, motor vehicles, cement and steel.
  • Sholapur division originated more than 140 years back as part of the Greater Indian Peninsula. For sometimes it was part of the South Central Railway till 1977. It has a Broad Gauge route kms of 370, and many of the narrow gauge lines are being converted into broad gauge.

Special trains

  • There is a special narrow gauge line in the Neral – Matheran line which links neral with the hill station of Matheran in the Western Ghats in the Mumbai-pune main line. Deccan Queen, Punjab Mail, Gitanjali Express, Hussain Sagar Express and Pushpak Express are some of the special trains which run in the Central Railway zone.
  • Some of the summer holiday trains that are running in this zone are Santragachi Kochuveli Weekly Special, Adra Shalimar Special, Kolkata Santragachi Junction Jhargam Special, Kharagpur Jhargam Special, Digha Flag Station Santragachi Jn DEMU Special, Shalimar Chennai summer special, Kharagpur Jhargam Special, Mumbai LTT Santragachi SF special, etc. These have been introduced to relieve the heavy rush during holiday seasons and also provide people with easy reservations for their summer tours.
  • During festival seasons also, there are special trains that are run in the Central Railway zone.
  • Deccan queen is one of the tourist trains along with the Neral Matheran train. It connects Mumbai to Pune and carries thousands of passengers daily between the two cities. The train stops in the stations of Dadar and Lonavla, as well as halts for a few minutes in the station called Monkey hill. Many passengers who wish to come to Lonavla travel through this train. It started during the times of the Britishers for their weekend train and getaway transportation to the cooler parts of Lonavla and Pune. It is the only train in the country to have run in electric power from the very beginning without ever using the steam locomotive.

Railway Recruitment Board for Central Railway

  • Central Railway is headquartered in Mumbai and this is also the place where the Railway Recruitment Board is located. But the RRB Mumbai has a large spectrum of jurisdiction. In the Central Railway, it looks after the recruitment in the Headquarters of the Central Railway, and the divisions of Mumbai, Sholapur, Nagpur, Bhusaval and Pune.
  • Apart from this zone, the RRB Mumbai is responsible for the recruitment of Group C Technical and Non Technical people in the Western Railway looking after the Headquarter of Western Railway, and Mumbai Division, the Nanded division of South Central Railway and the Nagpur division of South East Central Railway.

The Central Railway is highly oriented for passenger traffic and most of this is concentrated in the region of Mumbai Division. With the suburban traffic contributing to half of its daily traffic, this division is catering to the financial, commercial and economical capital of the country. Being the largest among the zones, the Central Railway has been able to work through the process in a big way and contributes majorly for the system of Indian Railway.

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