The Indian Railway Protection Force Service earlier known as Railway Protection Force (RPF), is a security force, established by Railway Protection Force Act, 1957; it was enacted by the Indian Parliament for the “better protection and security of railway property and passenger area”. Railway Protection force has the power to search, investigate, arrest and prosecute offences committed under railway property (unlawful possession act) 1966 and The Railways Act, 1989. However, the arrests done under the penal laws lie in the hands of Government Railway Police.


The RPF was first formed in 1854 when the Railway construction was begun in India for the first time. However, it was legally identified for the first time under the Police act, 1861. In 1872, the Railway Police Committee suggested organization of Railway Police Force.


  • To protect and guard railway property and to fight the crimes taking place against it.
  • To do acts which will result in better security and protection of the railway property.
  • To remove any barrier or any obstruction in the movement of railway property.
  • To perform other functions of an armed force of the Union and to exercise powers of a railway servant as granted by or under the Indian Railways Act, 1890.
  • To look at the possible situations where crime can take place against the railway property and take action with remedial measures.
  • To make easy for the passenger travel and their security by removing anti social elements from trains, railway property and passenger areas.
  • To be careful and prevent women and children trafficking and take appropriate action against them and to restore children to their normal life found in railway premises.
  • To co-operate with other departments of railways to improve the image and efficiency of the Indian railways.
  • To act as a link between Government Railway Police and the Railway Administration.
  • Adopt all the modern technology, best human rights practices, management techniques and special measures for protection of females, senior citizens and children 
  • To register and take up enquiries under the railway property act, 1966 arrest the offenders and participate in legal proceedings.

The RPF utilizes a similar rank structure to the IPS (Indian Police Service). Non-gazetted ranks are the same as those used in the State Police Services. The job profile differs for each  position.


The governance of the Railway Protection Force is based on the following:

  • Railway Protection Force Act, 1957
  • Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act, 1966
  • Railway Protection Force Rules, 1987 – Laid, by the central government, as per provisions under RPF Act, 1957.
  • Railway Protection Force Directives, 1987