IRSE - Institution of Railway Signal Engineers > About > About the IRSE
  1. Licensing
  2. Membership & Registration
  3. Qualifications & CPD
  4. Publications & Resources
  5. Get Involved
  6. News
  7. About
  1. Licensing
  2. Membership & Registration
  3. Qualifications & CPD
  4. Publications & Resources
  5. Get Involved
  6. News
  7. About

About the IRSE

Objectives of the IRSE

The objectives of the Institution are stated in the Articles of Association as being:

The advancement for the public benefit of the science and practice of signalling* by the promotion of research, the collection and publication of educational material and the holding of conferences, seminars and meetings.

The maintenance of high standards of practice and professional care amongst those working within the industry and the promotion of improved safety standards for the protection of the general public

*which means in this context all the equipment and systems (electrical, electronic, mechanical or software-based) methods, regulations and principles whereby the movement of railway or other traffic is controlled. This includes associated telecommunications systems.

We have a strategy for the development of the Institution and the services it provides for its members and stakeholders.


The Articles of Association and Bye-Laws state how the Institution is governed and organised. The governance of the Institution is the responsibility of its Council, which comprises elected members. The IRSE is a charity registered with the UK Charity Commission, and members of Council are Trustees of the charity. Click here for more information about the current membership of the Council.

You can read about the activities and work of the IRSE last year in our Annual Report and in previous years in our Proceedings.

Code of Professional Conduct

It is a condition of membership that IRSE members abide by the Institution’s Code of Professional Conduct, which sets out our expectations and commitments in relation to matters such as:

  • Safeguarding the public interest in matters of safety;
  • Taking personal responsibility for work performed;
  • Avoiding environmental damage and wastage of natural resources;
  • Maintaining and developing professional competence;
  • Undertaking responsibilities with integrity, fairly and objectively.
Professional recognition

The IRSE is a licensed body of the UK Engineering Council. IRSE members are encouraged to register with the Engineering Council as Chartered Engineers (CEng), Incorporated Engineers (IEng) or Engineering Technicians (Eng Tech). 

Click here for more information.

Professional development

The IRSE undertakes a range of activities to support the professional development and maintaining competence of its members, including:

  • Running a programme of regular technical meetings, periodical Conferences and Seminars, and an annual Convention, held at various locations around the world, designed to inform and stimulate debate on topics of current interest within the industry
  • Publishing educational text books and a monthly magazine (IRSE News) containing technical papers and articles.
  • Offering an annual examination worldwide, by which members can demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of a broad range of technical and operational subjects relevant to train control and communications.
  • Operating a Licensing Scheme by which members and non-members can demonstrate their ongoing competence for undertaking specific roles relating to train control and communications.

The IRSE encourages its members to plan and undertake activities that will maintain and enhance their professional capabilities, and to maintain records of these activities (known as CPD).

Working with employers and railway administrations

The Institution seeks to work collaboratively with:

  • employers of train control and communications engineers
  • railway operators and infrastructure owners
  • educational and academic establishments
  • research organisations
  • government and regulatory bodies
  • other Professional Institutions and similar bodies

for the purposes of:

  • attracting and retaining people in the rail industry so that employers have access to competent, capable engineers and technicians
  • Supporting professional development so that engineers and technicians maintain and develop their competence, capabilities and skills
  • Education, so that formal training and teaching courses are available to people working in the industry and others who wish to do so
  • Research, in order to develop new insights, methodologies and techniques for improving the safety, cost-effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of rail transport
  • Promoting and ensuring railway safety and security, recognising that continuing vigilance and high standards of both collective and individual competence are required for this purpose.
George Clark, Reece Martin, Janagan Yoganathan