The Institution was formed in 1884 in England by a group of dedicated railway people, who were responsible for development of railway track across the British Isles, and who felt the need for an avenue for exchange of track design, construction and maintenance. They realised the educational and social value of communications between all levels of rail people engaged on the railway tracks and associated structures. The safety of rail travel has been brought to the present standards, because of a better understanding of the behaviour of the tracks under load; the Institution has played a vital part in gaining this understanding. Realising this, the New South Wales Section was formed in 1974, not only to benefit from those who had gone before, but also to add to the development of still more efficient rail transportation in the years ahead. Each branch or section arrange regular meetings for the presentation of discussion papers with the exchanging of views together with field trips several times each year. In Britain there are about 29 sections with sections also in Central and South Africa, Nigeria, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Australia and Queensland. PWI NSW has over 500 personal members and over 80 coporate members making it one of the largest PWI Sections in the world.
Corporate members have the additional opportunity to sponsor any of the PWI NSW events with the exception of the Annual Convention.