On 5th April 1859 foundation stone was laid at (Negapatam) Nagappattinam by the “Great Southern Of India Railway Company” (GSIR) for construction of Railway line in BG system from Nagappattinam to Erode via Tiruchchirappalli. On 15th July 1861 the historic first train in BG system ran between Nagappattinam and Thiruvarur a distance of 14.33 miles (24 kms). The line was further extended to Tiruchchirappalli and a train arrived Tiruchchirappalli for the first time on 11th March 1862. Then the railway line was extended upto Erode in 1868 and connected the Madras - Erode - Shoranur - Beypore line.
The "GSIR" Company succeeded to a new Company known as “South Indian Railway Company.” In the initial stages Nagappattinam remained as the Head Quarters for the SIR for about 20 years. In the year 1865 a “General Office Building” was constructed at Tiruchchirappalli and then it shifted its Head Quarters to Tiruchchirappalli. Mr. William Smith Betts was the first ‘Agent’ (General Manager) of the SIR system and he occupied the superior post for 35 years. During his tenure, the SIR system saw astonishing growth and the route kilometers went upto 1040 miles. Sri. K.R.Ramanujam was the last GM of the SIR.
Foundation stone was laid for the construction of a new building for SIR’s Museum on 30.06.2011. As per original plan it is two-Souvenir shopy building. The works of construction of the building’s first phase (Ground Floor) was completed and it was inaugurated on 18.02.2014 by GM/SR. Due to paucity of funds opening of the Museum to visitors could not be undertaken immediately for want of infrastructure facilities. For better display of the indoor exhibits to visitors the preliminary work for improving the infrastructure facilities completed during January 2015 and finally commissioned on 25.02.2015. Now it is the ‘star’ attraction of the passers-by through the route. The Ground floor of the Museum building is 9000 sq.ft. Cost of the Museum Building is 1.35 crores.