Railways – Indian Railways and its organisational structure

The Indian Railways is organised broadly by functional groups ofIndian Railway Service. This is traditionally how the co-operation is organised. The Indian Railways perhaps has been less adventurous in changing the structure; it has largely kept up what it got as a legacy since the British era.

Railway Board

The apex management organisation is the Railway Board, also called theMinistry of Railways. The board is headed by a Chairman who reports to the Minister of Railways. The board has five other members in addition to the chairman.

The General Managers of the zonal railways and the production units report to the board.

Functional branches

The various Group A cadres are as below:

Non Technical Services recruitment through Civil Services Examination conducted by UPSC

  • IRTS – Indian Railway Traffic Service
  • IRPS – Indian Railway Personnel Service
  • IRAS – Indian Railway Accounts Service
  • RPF – Railway Protection Force

Technical Services recruitment through Indian Engineering Services Examination conducted by UPSC

  • IRSE – Indian Railway Service of (Civil) Engineers
  • IRSEE – Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers
  • IRSME – Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers
  • IRSS – Indian Railway Stores Service
  • IRSSE – Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers

Medical Services recruitment through Combined medical Examination conducted by UPSC

  • IRMS – Indian Railway Medical Service

India’s vast rail system, the third largest in the world, is managed by regional levels. Indian Railways has divided itself into seventeen zonal railways. Each zone, headed by a General Manager, is semi-autonomous and this creates a matrix organisation where the functional branches are under dual control viz.

  • Operational Control at Zonal level
  • Functional Policy & Guidance from the Railway Board

Regional organisation

Zonal management

Indian Railway zonal map

The current 18 zones of the Indian Railways are

More information: Name, Abbr. …

Divisional organisation

The Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) heads the organisation at the division level. There are currently 67 divisions on the system nationwide. The divisions are primarily involved with train running but may have loco sheds (repair shops for locomotives), coaching depots (repair home bases for passenger trains) and wagon depots (repair and maintenance points for freight stock).

Each division has all the functional (both line and staff) organisations. The heads of these functional groups report to the DRM for administrative purposes but rely on guidance from the railway board and the zonal headquarters for policy guidelines.


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