Chennai Central (Tamil: சென்னை சென்ட்ரல்) erstwhile MADRAS CENTRAL , is the main railway terminus in the city of Chennai (Madras). It is the home of the Southern Railway and the most important rail hub in South India. The other major Stations are Chennai Egmore and Tambaram. Trains from here connect the city to New Delhi and prominent state capitals of India like Bhopal, Lucknow, Jaipur, Mumbai, Patna, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram etc. Madras Central is also the main hub for the Chennai Suburban Railway system. The building of the railway station, one of the landmarks of Chennai (Madras), was designed by the architect Henry Irwin.

This station is also noted for a whole range of amenities available within the premises. The station has book-shops, restaurants, accommodation, Internet browsing centers and even an essential commodities shopping mall. In 2005, the buildings were painted a creamy yellow colour, but concurring with the views of a campaign by the citizens of Chennai and also to retain the old nostalgic charm, they were repainted in their original brick-red color, which was how the buildings were built originally.

Chennai Central serves as a symbolic landmark for people in South India as this station served as the main gateway for all people who travelled to South India during the British times. Madras Central has been greatly instrumental in earning Chennai the famous sobriquet Gateway of the South. The entrance to this station and the adjacent suburban railway complex is on the arterial Poonamalee High Road in the city.


Madras Central was built in 1873 at Parktown as a second terminus to decongest the Royapuram harbour station which was being utilised for port movements. Built in the Gothic Revival style, the original station was designed by George Hardinge and consisted of just four platforms. The station was later modified with the addition of the central clock tower and other changes by Robert Fellowes Chisholm . The redesign was eventually completed in 1900.

Madras Central gained prominence after the beach line was extended further south in 1907 and Royapuram was no longer a terminus for Madras. All trains were then terminated at Madras Central instead and its position was further strengthened after the construction of the headquarters of the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway (erstwhile Madras Railway and now known as the Southern Railway (India)) adjacent to it in 1922.

Due to increasing passenger movement, the main building was extended with the addition of a new building on the western side with a similar architecture to the original.

Capacity at the station was further augmented after construction of the multistoreyed Moore Market Complex as a dedicated terminus for the Madras suburban railway system.

Southern Railway

Chennai is the headquarters of the Southern Railway zone of the Indian Railways.


The entire complex has 15 platforms to handle long distance trains with 3 platforms exclusively for suburban trains. The complex for suburban trains is popularly known as the Moore Market complex. There is a platform 2A between platforms 2 and 3; it is used to handle relatively short trains like the Rajadhani Express, Vijayawada Jan Shatabdi Express, Bangalore/Mysore Shatabdi Expresses and the Gudur Passenger.

Chennai Central used to have trains with special liveries until early 90's. The Brindavan Exp. used to have green livery with a yellow stripe running above and below the windows; Nilgiri Exp. (popularly known as Blue Mountain) had blue livery. All trains now have the standard blue livery (denoting Air-Braked bogies). Notable exceptions include the Rajadhani, Shatabdi and the Jan Shatabdi Express. The Saptagiri/Tirupati Expresses has a vivid green / cream livery combination with a matching WAM4 6PE loco from Arakkonam (AJJ) electric loco shed.

The building to the west of the railway station is the Ripon building, which houses the Chennai Corporation. To the east of the station lies the Southern Railway Headquarters.


Some of the trains from/to Chennai Central are:

Trains passing through Chennai Central
  • Indore - Trivandrum Ahilyanagari Express
  • Gorakhpur-Trivandrum/Barauni--Ernakulam Raptisagar Express
  • Trivandrum - Howrah Express
  • Coimbatore - Jaipur Express
  • Ernakulam - Guwahati Express
  • Trivandrum - Guwahati Express
  • Bangalore - Guwahati Express
  • Bangalore - Rajendra Nagar(Patna) Sangamithra Express
  • Muzaffarpur - Yeswantpur Express
  • Ernakulam - Patna Express
  • Trivandrum - Howrah(Shalimar) Express
  • Dhanbad - Alappuzha Express
  • Bangalore-Darbhanga Bagmati Express
  • Trivandrum - Korba Express


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