The batsmen failed to apply themselves against the opposition pacemen and were reduced to 237 for eight when bad light stopped play with 3.5 overs remaining for the day.
However, the score was a recovery of sorts since the hosts were tottering at 42 for five midway through the morning session.
Had it not been for a 122-run partnership for the sixth wicket between Yere Goud (71, nine fours) and Shreyas Khanolkar (78, 10 fours), the railmen could well have been dismissed under three figures.
Railway skipper Sanjay Bangar won the toss and elected to bat on a traditionally flat wicket. But the Tamil Nadu bowlers, especially Jesuraj and R Naresh, took whatever assistance was available on a fresh pitch, much to the delight of captain Hemang Badani.
The Railway batsmen did not learn the lessons after an inadequate display against Karnataka in the previous match and went for flashy shots early on to gift their wickets.
But Khanolkar and Goud stemmed the rot to take the score to 88 for five at lunch.
They continued in the same vein after the break with Goud providing solid support to Khanolkar who played his shots.
The wicket had also settled down in the afternoon and the two batsmen proceeded to show that there were no devils in the pitch.