The history of the institute dates back to the first half of the twentieth century. At the turn of the 1920s and 1930s the country launched industrialization. There was an urgent need to form a centralized structure capable of solving urgent tasks of substantiating construction of new railways and technical re-tooling of existing railway lines.
Within the structure of the All-Union Design and Survey Association Soyuztransproject at People's Commissariat for Lines of Communications the Sector of Feasibility Studies (54 employees) was created, which in 1938 was reorganized into the Department of Feasibility Studies (FS).
In the pre-war years, 40 people were employed in the Department of Feasibility Studies.
From 1935 to 1940, by order of the People's Commissariat for Lines of Communications, the Department of Feasibility Studies of Soyuztransproject:
• developed comprehensive proposals to strengthen 25 crucial directions, including Ural-Center communications, the exit from the Kuzbass, Balashovo and other cargo-intensive directions;
• developed economic sections of the projects of Komsomolsk, Krasnoyarsk, and Chelyabinsk hubs and Nakhodka station;
• substantiated the schemes of siting of car and locomotive repair plants in the long term till 1942;
• resolved the issue of assigning steam locomotives to steam locomotive repair plants along the USSR railways with estimating the number and structure of the steam locomotive fleet.
It also prepared the economic sections of projects for building new lines, major hubs (Nizhny Tagil, Yaroslavl, Omsk, Michurinsk and many others), second tracks, and hub bypasses.
The Department developed a scheme of technical and operational characteristics of the USSR railways with the determination of carrying capacity. On the eve of the Great Patriotic War, it resolves the issues related to the construction of BAM, harmonization of the length of receiving-and-departure tracks, siting and development of the plant's mechanical workshops with the estimation of the structure and number of rolling stock units.
On March 15, 1940, in accordance with order No 185/a of B.N. Arutyunov, Deputy People's Commissar for Lines of Communications of the USSR, the Design Bureau of Feasibility Studies in Railway Transport was established on the basis of the FS Department.
Vladimir Vasilyevich Solomin was appointed its first director.