The Indian Railways is organised broadly by functional groups. This is traditionally how railways are organised the world over. The Indian Railways perhaps has been less adventurous in changing the structure; it has largely kept up what it got as a legacy from the British era.
The apex management organisation is the Railway Board, also called the Ministry 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.
The various cadres are as below:
Non technical services recuritment though Civil Services examination conducted by UPSC (also known as IAS)
- IRTS - Indian Railway Traffic Service
- IRAS - Indian Railway Accounts Service
- IRPS - Indian Railway Personnel Service
- RPF - Railway Protection Force
Technical services recuritment thourh Indian Engineeing 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
Recuritment through combined medical examination conducted by UPSC
- IRMS - Indian Railway Medical Service
A vast rail system as India's, the 3rd largest in the world, has been managed at a regional level. Indian Railways has divided itself into 16 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
Currenly there are 16 zonal railways in India. Each zone also manages the workshops that are part of it. This does not include the Production Units, which are managed by General Managers reporting directly to the Railway Board.
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.