The Railway Protection Force has its origin since 1882 when the Railway Companies then in existence appointed their own security for each Department. This arrangement was found to be fairly satisfactory till 1918. With an increase in traffic; there was a steep rise in the incidence of thefts of goods entrusted to Railways. This led to the Government of India to appoint a committee to enquire into causes thereof and suggest corrective measures.
Acting on the Committee’s recommendations, most of the Class I Railways reorganized their security as a separate unit under a superior officer. But this too proved inadequate, and in the aftermath of the Second World War, losses due to thefts and claims on the Railways assumed huge size and needed serious attention.
The Government of India, therefore in year 1954, instituted a special enquiry through Director, Intelligence Bureau (Ministry of Home Affairs) who in his report, forcefully brought out the necessity of organizing the security in railways on a statutory basis. The Railway Board also appointed a Security Adviser to the Railway Board in July, 1953 to work out the details for the reorganization of the Security department. It was decided in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs that there should be an integrated well organized force on the model of the Police with adequate supervisory staff specially trained to meet the peculiar aspects of crime that were prevalent in Railways and act as a second line to the States Police with whom, under the Constitution, policing on Railways was rested. This led to introduction of the R.P.F. Bill in the Parliament of India for the better protection and security of Railway property and the same was passed as The Railway Protection Force Act, 1957 (No.23 of 1957).
Gradually and steadily the force has evolved in many aspects from then onwards and there after The RPF Act, 1957 was modified by Parliament for the first time in 1985 vide Act No.60 for the constitution and maintenance of the Force as an Armed Force of the Union and for the second time in 2003 with Railway Act vide which the additional responsibilities of Passenger Safety and Security of their belongings were laid on the shoulder of the Force by extending the powers of execution of 29 sections of Railway Act. At present the Force is escorting maximum number of mail/express trains throughout the length and breadth of the nation beside the access control duties at important stations.