Founded on March 1, 1950, CARS is the only comprehensive research institute with multi-disciplines and multi-specialties in China Railway industry. In 2002, it was transformed from a state-owned institute to an enterprise under the direct control of MOR. Grounded in the main field of railway modernization for the 60 years since its founding, it has tackled considerable important and critical technological problems and has made a great deal of experimental studies focusing on railway construction and transportation. Therefore, it has gained more than 2300 scientific research achievements and 825 prizes for significant fruits of scientific research. Among them, 176 prizes are of state level, and 649 of provincial and ministerial level. It thus has played an important role as the main force in railway sciences and made great contributions to the technological progress of China Railways.
With 60 years of hard work to start a new undertaking, and after 60 years of striving for success, CARS has, along the flourish of China Railways, possessed the technological innovative ability and core competitiveness in railway transportation, and developed into an industrial group engaging in high and new technologies of rail transport with integration of scientific research, development, production and consultation. It has 2468 staff and workers, among whom 606 are senior research fellows, and 701 intermediate researchers. For the past six decades, it has produced 5 academicians, 14 experts of state level, 42 experts of MOR level, 206 researchers enjoying the special allowance of state council, and 4 candidates of “Hundred, Thousand and Ten Thousand Talent Project for the New Century”. As one of the initially approved units granting master's and doctor’s degree, it now has developed into a first-level discipline doctorate degree granting institution for Traffic Engineering and Geotechnical Engineering, 2 mobile postdoctoral centers, 6 doctoral degree programs, and 15 master's degree programs. Meanwhile, it has built the national railway test center, and has been equipped with over 40 laboratories of all specialties, and 6991 test equipment. Furthermore, it has applied and established in recent years 6 state-level innovation platforms, including National Research Center of System Engineering of Railway Intelligent Transport, State Key Laboratory for Track Technology of High-Speed Railway, National Engineering Laboratories for System Test of High-Speed Railway, Equipment Testing Line of Urban Rail Transit, State Key Laboratory for Traction and Control System of Locomotive and EMU, Service Platform for Technological Innovation of High-Speed Train. High-tech Enterprise Certificate, ISO9001:2008 Quality Management System Certificate, OHSAS18001:2007 Occupational Health and Safety Management System Certificate, ISO14001:2004 Environment Standard Management System Certificate. In 2011, CARS became an official member of UIC.
Currently, by upholding the policy of “industrial service as the foundation for develop, and commercialization of research achievements as the strategy for Prosperity” in the new age, CARS is carrying forward “CARS working style” as “being innovative, hardworking, rigorous and harmonious”, and making every effort to build the academy into a first-class research institute and to contribute more to the modernization of China Railways by focusing on research and development, and motivating both experimental tests and commercialization with innovative and enterprising spirits.