Train service in Coimbatore started in 1861, upon the construction of the Podanur - Madras line connecting Kerala and the west coast with the rest of India. Coimbatore lies on the Coimbatore - Shoranur railway line Indian gauge. Until 1956, the Coimbatore railway Division was functioning with Podanur as the Headquarters. In 1956, the headquarters was shifted to Olavakkode, of Kerala state and was named Olavakkod railway division. In 1980, Olavakkod division was renamed Palakkad railway division. It comprised Kerala and western districts of Tamilnadu. The revenue from railway stations of western Tamilnadu, especially Coimbatore, was used to develop Railway stations in Kerala, which some saw as unfair. Because of this, protests arose in Tamilnadu to form new railway division with Coimbatore as its headquarters. Ultimately, a new Salem railway division was carved out of the Palakkad railway division in 2006 with Salem as its headquarters. The city falls under the Salem railway division of the Southern Railway zone of Indian Railways. The major railway station is the Coimbatore Junction which is the second-largest income generating station in the Southern Railway zone, after Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. M.G. Ramachandran Central Railway Station and is amongst the top hundred booking stations of Indian Railways. Other major railway stations catering to the city include Coimbatore North Junction railway station, Podanur Junction railway station and minor stations at Peelamedu, Singanallur, Irugur Junction railway station, Perianaikanpalayam, Thudiyalur railway station, Madukkarai railway station, Somanur and Sulur.
It is one of the major train stations in South India and the second busiest and revenue yielding railway station in Tamil Nadu after . It is one of the A1 graded station in the Southern Railway. This station comes under the jurisdiction of Salem railway division of Southern Railway zone and contributes to 45% of the revenues of the zone. It is one of the top booking stations in India according to Indian Railways. Chennai Egmore, Coimbatore Junction and Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. M.G. Ramachandran Central Railway Station are the most profitable stations of Southern Railways.
The station is a junction formed by the following 4 lines:, Jolarpettai-Shoranur line Double line., Coimbatore-Shoranur line Double line. , Coimbatore - Pollachi line Single line., Coimbatore - Mettupalayam line Single line.
The other stations serving Coimbatore include (CBF), (PTJ), (IGU), (MDKI), Peelamedu railway station (PLMD), Singanallur (SHI), Sulur (SUU), Perianaikanpalayam (PKU), Thudiyalur railway station(TDE) and Somanur (SNO).