Railways were introduced in India in 1853 and as their development progressed through to the twentieth century, several company managed systems grew up. To enforce standardisation and co-ordination amongst various railway systems, the Indian Railway Conference Association(IRCA) was set up in 1903, followed by the Central Standards Office (CSO) in 1930, for preparation of designs, standards, and specifications. However, till independence, most of the designs and manufacture of railway equipment were entrusted to foreign consultants. With Independence and the resultant phenomenal increase in country’s industrial and economic activity, which increased the demand of rail transportation – a new organisation called Railway Testing and Research Centre (RTRC) was set up in 1952 at Lucknow. Central Standards Office (CSO) and the Railway Testing and Research Centre (RTRC) were integrated into a single unit named Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) in 1957, under the Ministry of Railways at Lucknow. The status of RDSO has been changed from an ’Attached Office’ to ’Zonal Railway’ since 01.01.2003.
In 1903,the Indian Railway Conference Association (IRCA) was found out to supply for standardization and coordination amongst various Railway systems. This was followed by the Central Standards Office (CSO) established in 1930 at Shimla for preparation of styles , standards and specifications. However, till Independence, most of the planning and manufacture of railway equipment was entrusted to foreign consultants. With Independence and therefore the resultant phenomenal rise in country’s industrial and economic activities, the demand for rail transportation increased causing a complete shift in emphasis. The urge towards national self-sufficiency along side the expansion of activities of the Indian Railways within the field of design and manufacture brought in its wake the demand for more indigenous applied research in railway technology. Consequently, the Research Section of the Central Standards Office was reorganized as Railway Testing Research Centre (RTRC) and established on 1st September 1952 as a separate Directorate of Railway Board with headquarters at Lucknow and two sub- centres at Lonavla and Chittaranjan. In 1957, the Central Standards Office and RTRC were integrated into one unit as Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) at Lucknow.