We are a research institute operating for over 70 years in the railway transport area. Not only do we have our own test track but also facilities and equipment necessary to perform tests and scientific research in the field of rail transport.

The main activity of the Institute focuses on initiating and carrying out scientific research and development, tests and studies and their implementation. The Institute’s organizational structure includes four research and testing departments, four laboratories, Quality and Certification Centre, Information and Standardization Centre, as well as the Facility in another location – Test Track in Żmigród. All laboratories hold accreditation granted by the Polish Centre for Accreditation.

The Railway Research Institute  is a Notified Body No. NB 1467 to the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) 2016/797 of 11 May 2016 on the interoperability of the rail system in the European Union for the assessment of all interoperable structural subsystems, i.e. Infrastructure, Energy, Control-Command and Signalling Track-side and On-board subsystems, rolling stock and traffic operation and management subsystems. The notification is for indefinite time.

It also holds safety authorization of the German Federal Railway Authority (EBA) to perform tests of railway vehicles. Moreover, it cooperates with many international organizations and associations (UIC, OSŻD, ECTRI, ERRAC, EURNEX, ELCF) as well as national and international research institutions.

The dynamic development of railways all over the world, High Speed Rail including (at least 250 km/h), and an important role assigned to railways within the European Union set new research and development tasks. Pitting high-speed against conventional rail systems, so often mentioned in various discussions, does not seem justified. Not only does the Railway Research Institute have a broad experience concerning conventional rail but it possesses and has acquired specialist knowledge and expertise in the progress and construction of High-Speed Rail , which should be intensively developed.

Brief history of the Institute

In 2017 the Railway Research Institute is celebrating its 65th anniversary. Since its establishment, it has changed the name four times.

Initially it was set up on the basis of the Research Unit for Locomotives at the Ministry of Transport as the Scientific and Research Railway Institute (INBK), then in 1958 it was transformed into the Research and Development Centre for Railway Technology (COBiRTK) and in 1987 it was renamed as the Railway Scientific and Technical Centre (CNTK). The last change into the Railway Research Institute (IK) took place in 2010 and as before it was caused by changing the current Polish legal regulations.

For many years, up to 2000, the Institute (as CNTK) had been  a part of the Polish State Railways (PKP). However, due to the Polish State Railways’ restructuring and commertialisation the Institute became an independent entity, subordinated directly to the minister responsible for transport.

Since the beginning of its establishment, the Institute has been playing a vital role in the rail transport system in Poland. Many specialists who have worked in its departments, laboratories, centres and units have recorded outstanding achievements and gathered profound knowledge in technology, science, organization and operation. Numerous solutions have been developed and implemented here, due to which the railways have noted significant progress in many areas of their activities.



Establishing the Railway Scientific and Research Institute (INBK) on the basis of the Research Unit for Locomotives at the Ministry of Transport [Ordinance of the Railway Minister of 30 May 1951]


Transformation into a Polish State Railways’ (PKP) unit as the Research and Development Centre for Railway Technology (COBiRTK) [Council of Ministers Resolution No 222 of 20 June 1958]


Changing the location from Hoża street to its current headquarters at Olszynka Grochowska, Chłopickiego street


Changing the name to the Railway Scientific and Technical Centre (CNTK) pursuant to the Minister’s of Transport decision [Minister of Transport Ordinance No 67 of 12 October 1987]


CNTK separation from PKP in order to establish a state organizational entity – a research and development unit [Minister of Transport and Maritime Economy Decision No 40 of 29 November 1999]


20 May 2010 establishing the Railway Research Institute (IK) [Minister of Infrastructure Ordinance of 12 April 2010].