Guntur Division is one of the six divisions of the South Central Railway (SCR) a zone in the Indian Railways. The headquarters of the division is located at Rail Vikas Bhavan, Pattabhipuram,Guntur- a place from where the old metre gauge alignment used to pass. Guntur Railway Station (Co-ordinates: 16-18′04.11" N; 80-26',36.37"E; Elevation 123ft above MSL).The word Guntur comes from the original telegu word -gunta- or -gartha- which means a pond or tank, which were a plenty earlier at this place, hence it was also known as -Garthapuri-. In eighteenth century when the French started settling here, the nearby hills at Nallapadu and else where there used to be large number of natural streams which are no longer seen due to extensive quarrying and use of dynamite.
Railway Map of Guntur Division(in Pink line)
This is one of the recently formed divisions of Indian Railways. The Railway Board although announced of its creation way back in 1997 to serve the impoverished interior Coastal Andhra region, the eastern part of the backward Rayalaseema region and the south eastern extremeties of the Telangana region by postind an Officer-on-Special Duty(OSD) it became functional on 1st.April, 2003. It is comprised of mainly single line non-electrified track, the only exception being the Tenali-Guntur-Nallapadu stretch (single line electrified) and the Guntur-Krishna Canal stretch which has recently been converted into double line and electrified. It is a mainly passenger driven division although freight traffic which was only Rs 930 million per annum in 2003, has picked up to more than Rs. 2000 million now. A major part of the freight traffic comprises of cement, food grains, chilly, cotton and timber. The Guntur-Nandyal stretch passes through Naxalite infested Nallamalla forest region and is therefore many of its stations are frequently targeted by them. However it is one of the most beautiful sections of the Indian Railways passing through the heart of pre-historic Gondwanaland hills and forests, which is geologically much older than the Himalayas and the North Indian plains. It has two tunnels near Chelama station, one Bogada tunnel having a length of about 1.6 km, and Chelama tunnel about 700 metres. The former is one of the longest tunnels in Broad Gauge railway system in India. The Bogada tunnel is about 230 km away from Guntur city.
Since its inception the division has improved its earnings every year, especially with its Freight/Goods services. During the fiscal year 2006-07 the earning from Goods traffic alone was around Rs. 198.00 crore and total earning was around Rs.258 crore
The newly built divisional headquarters office at Pattabhipuram in Guntur is a landmark structure in the city, having a semi circular design and mostly covered by tinted glass. It has a beautiful lawn, a fountain and a vast garden complex. The current Divisional Railway Manager is M. Akhtar, an officer of the IRPS cadre.
The Guntur Macherla and the Guntur Nandyal stretches were originally built to Metre Gauge partly by the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway (MSMR) and partly by British government owned earstwhile East Coast Railway in the late 19th century. Since there was no rail communication to Madras (Chennai) under which state, Guntur was a district both the Railways were extended and merged at Guntur Junction in 1895. As per the Imperial Gazette of India, 1901, the district officials of Guntur, prior to coming of the railway, were going 60 miles by road to nearest sea port and thence by steamer boat to Madras. It was converted to the present Broad Gauge during the early 90s under Project Unigauge. This stretch in late 19th. century became a part of the important East-West coast trade link that connected Vasco da Gama, Goa to Masulipatnam in Andhra Pradesh through Hyderabad state. Thus Guntur became an important centre of trade and business. Some of the old MSMR engraved wooden benches can still be seen with wrought iron frames at Macherla, Repalle and Vajendla Stations. The Vajendla-Tsunduru a 10 kms. Section of MSMR connecting Chennai mainline was abandoned long back which was a by-pass for Tenali and reducing distance to Chennai from Guntur by 16 kms.