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 standardization and coordination 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 the 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 the country’s industrial and economic activity, which increased the demand for rail transportation – a new organization 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.