IRSE - Institution of Railway Signal Engineers > Qualifications & Careers > Prizes & Awards
  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

Prizes & Awards

The IRSE has a number of prizes and awards which celebrate excellence, inspire colleagues and promote the Institution within train control and communication systems engineering.

The President's Award

The IRSE President’s Award is an award especially created in 1999 to recognise a very exceptional level of personal contribution to the work of the Institution by an individual. The award takes the form of a special medallion, suitably inscribed and with a distinctive green ribbon.

The award is made from time to time at the discretion of Council upon the nomination of the current President supported by two past Presidents and, because of its nature in recognising exceptional service, it was anticipated that the award would be made only rarely.

Philip Wiltshire HonFIRSE has been awarded the President's Award in 2023. Click here for more details

Philip Wiltshire joined the IRSE in 1964 and is the Institution’s longest serving, living past-President. It is likely that when he was elected President in 1982, he was the youngest member ever to fulfil that role. Since then, Philip has been an excellent supporter of the Institution. In the 1980s he represented the IRSE at the Engineering Council, and in the 1990s he played a leading role in the formation of the IRSE Licensing Scheme.

In 1992 he led a working group developing the Licensing Quality System and the initial Licensing Regulations, and then joined the newly formed Licensing Committee at its first meeting held in April 1993. Previously, the development of the Licensing Scheme had been managed using a special sub-committee of the Management Committee chaired by Colin Porter, initially formed in 1991. Philip had also been a member of this sub-committee for most of its existence.

Philip has been a member of the Licensing Committee since its inception, and still is today. During that time, he has led on the evolution of all the key documentation, notably the Licensing Standard and the Licensing Procedures. In addition, he has chaired several Appeals Panels. He is also an auditor of Assessing Agencies, and this has meant he is kept up-to-date with the actual workings of the Scheme.

Elected as an Honorary Fellow in 2002, Philip has been with the IRSE for almost 60 years, during which time he has always been willing to help and has never refused to undertake any activity when requested.

IRSE Companions

IRSE Companions are persons who are, by their association with the Profession, or through their occupation of a position of eminence, desirous of furthering the objectives of the Institution and (in the opinion of the Council) are worthy of such admission.

If you wish to nominate someone to become an IRSE Companion, please read and complete the nomination form.

Professor Azam Senin, University of Kuala Lumpur, has been awarded IRSE Companion in 2023: click here for further detail

Professor Azman Senin is the Dean / Head of Campus, responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the campus. He is currently working with the IRSE CEO to further relations between the IRSE and UniKL, particularly in the IRSE Examination, but also in the membership arena.

In addition to the work Professor Senin is doing with the IRSE, he is involved in recruitment of new students in Asia Rail, in which he supervises new program development within the railway field.

He has previously been the Director of the Asia Rail Centre, which focuses on partnerships between academia and major railway companies with Malaysia and the wider Asian region.

Dr Senin is working closely with the Malaysian government to secure funding to support the development of new entrants into the railway signalling and telecommunications. To date he has secured places for thirty candidates per year to sit the IRSE module A examination.

Dr Senin is leading the development of an assessing agency in Malaysia operated by the university which will act as a catalyst for the introduction of IRSE licensing into the Malaysian railway. He also intends to link membership of the IRSE to work within Malaysian railways, including where appropriate professional registration through ECUK.

Noel Travers, XRail Group Ltd, has been awarded IRSE Companion in 2023: click here for further detail

Noel is managing director of Xrail Group Ltd and was appointed chairman of the Railway Division of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in June 2022.

A graduate in mechanical engineering of Loughborough University, Noel gained his Masters in Rail Systems Engineering from the University of Sheffield before embarking on a career in the rail industry.

After leaving Unipart Group in 2020, Noel set up his own consultancy business, providing Interim Executive support to the rail sector. Noel continues to provide support to a small number of SMEs to help them to develop their business in the rail sector in the UK and overseas.

In July 2016, Noel joined Unipart Group as MD of its rail division and took on the additional responsibility for Unipart Manufacturing Group in January 2019. In this role, Noel was responsible for all of Unipart’s manufacturing businesses in the rail and automotive sectors and the supply chain business in the rail sector, operating in the UK, the US, Saudi Arabia and Australia.

Noel joined Bombardier Transportation in 2008 as Sales Director for the Passengers Division in the UK, adding South Africa to his responsibilities in 2011. After a total of seven years with Bombardier, Noel joined Unipart Rail and then, in 2021 became managing director of Xrail Group Ltd.

Most recently Noel has overseen XRail Group’s role, alongside SAR and Siemens Mobility, in ensuring the Huramin High Speed Railway maintained performance during the Holy Month of Ramadan which sees significant increase in trains and passengers carried.

Andrew Skinner, Great Western Railway, has been awarded IRSE Companion in 2023: click here for further detail

Andrew joined the rail industry straight from school and was sponsored as an undergraduate by the British Railways Board. He gained a BEng degree having studied Mechanical Engineering at Brunel University.

Having spent time in the heavy engineering workshops in Doncaster and York as part of the sponsored student scheme, he had an initial placement in the Technical Office at Wembley Intercity Depot maintaining the West Coast passenger rolling stock.

After becoming chartered and a member of the IMechE, Andrew then moved to South Wales and joined the technical office at Cardiff Canton locomotive depot and was responsible for performance data, modifications and carried out fault finding.

His association with South Wales continued when he moved west to become the area traction and rolling stock engineer at Margam responsible for the locomotive depot, wagon repair shops and rolling stock technicians carrying out pre departure freight train examinations. Here he gained the first combined BS Quality award for all three activities on BR. His Depot Management experience was further expanded through a move to the West Midlands running Bescot locomotive depot and Chester Wagon shops.

In 2000 an opportunity arose to join Great Western Trains. Andrew was successful and initially managed an £18M upgrade to the High-Speed Train fleet. He continued in various engineering roles, including responsibility for four major depots and around 600 staff, to his current role as Head of Engineering for the Great Western Railway.

Andrew’s involvement with IMechE activities began in the early 1990s as a committee member of the Railway Division South Western Centre, he went on to Chair the Centre for three years and is currently the Treasurer.

Following his Centre Chairmanship, Andrew continued as an Ordinary Board Member of the Railway Division at HQ which he continues to do. He currently has special responsibility for The Railway Engineers Forum.

Munir Patel, XRail, has been awarded IRSE Companion in 2023: click here for further detail

Munir started his career as an Apprentice for Transport for London in 1994. During his time at London Underground, he held numerous senior engineering positions and worked on several major projects, including the introduction of Communication Based Train control systems, which was implemented on the Jubilee and Northern Line.

After 17 years of service for Transport for London, gaining a wealth of experience and knowledge of the rail industry, he decided to open his own railway engineering company called XRail Group in November 2011.

Munir is passionate in initiatives championing the worldwide spread of UK rail industry knowledge, showcasing the rich history of the British railway engineering. This enthusiasm led Munir to explore markets outside of the UK, he and his XRail team have overcome many challenges during their exporting journey, including cultural barriers.

Munir has been keen to spread the ethos of the UK rail industry across the Middle East and has championed its world-class capabilities in delivering complex rail projects on time and to budget.

IRSE Honorary Fellows

IRSE Honorary Fellows are persons who, in the opinion of the Council, have rendered outstanding or exceptional services to the Profession, or the Institution, or have furthered the objects of the Institution, and are deemed by the Council worthy of such admission.

If you wish to nominate someone to become an IRSE Honorary Fellow, please read and complete the nomination form.

Peter Woodbridge, Siemens Mobility, has become an Honorary Fellow in 2023, click here for further detail

Peter Woodbridge is one of the greatest exemplars of the volunteers that enable the IRSE to flourish. He has been an active promoter of learning in the Signalling and Control industry for decades, helping individuals at all stages of their industry careers.

Peter was awarded the Merit Award in 2008 for his services in support of younger members preparing for the Exam, including running several study groups. In 2016 peter was awarded an unprecedented second Merit Award for his work, with the additional recognition of being invited to the Annual Dinner and the Beijing Convention as a guest of the IRSE.

In 2018 Peter established a new on-line study group and now regularly leads or contributes to weekend training days for young engineers, run in conjunction with Signet.

Peter’s selfless contributions to the IRSE Younger Members section, including students for whom English is not their first language, and support for anyone who wants to develop their knowledge of railway signalling, control and telecommunications has not been limited to his company, region, or country, but has been truly international.

As well as direct support to individuals, Peter has also provided regular feedback to the IRSE to ensure that the ongoing development of the exams is informed ‘from the coal face’.

Peter has also found time to write a 444-page book, A Chronology of Railway Signalling 1825-2018, documenting the development of signalling from policemen beside the track, via semaphore and colour-light signals, to radio and looking forward to the interlocking moving into the cloud.

Ian Mitchell, has become an Honorary Fellow in 2023, click here for further detail

Ian spent 44 years working in the railway industry, having been brought up in the Manchester area and studying at Cambridge University.

Ian’s work started in the Light Vehicle Section at BR Derby Research, from which Speedlink was developed. Using early microprocessors, he was involved in the development of precision vehicle positioning before moving to the Leyland Experimental Vehicle project.

In 1982 Ian became involved in the development of Track Circuit Assistors (TCAIDS) and the development of BR’s Solid State Interlocking (SSI), for which he wrote most of the assembler code. Ian sat on the Signalling Principles Group, helping to decide the best way to introduce SSI, and he was involved in developing the SSI Design Workstation, which neither GEC nor Westinghouse were interested in, which was later demonstrated to the Royal Society in 1988.

Later Ian became involved as an ISA on the Norwich to Cromer re-signalling project introduced by Vaughan Harmon. He became involved in the Euro Interlocking project with the UIC as well as supporting RSSB as part of the Command, Control & Signalling group, considering UK standards. Ian was also a NoBo for the Cambrian ERTMS project. Although working on many projects and for various successor companies, his career with one company was continuous from starting with BR.

Ian has supported the IRSE in many ways over the years of his career and since retiring, as a chairman and staunch supporter of the M&NWS and carrying out various organisational roles, including being part of the organising committee for the 2012 and 2015 Aspect conferences. Ian has been a contributing editor of IRSE news over many years and he still undertakes Professional Review Interviews on a regular basis.

IRSE Merit Awards

Nominations for IRSE Merit Awards are welcomed from IRSE members and section committees. They are made to an IRSE member, member of staff, or another person to recognise meritorious service to the IRSE. This could be by making a substantial contribution to the Institution's work over a period of time by organising activities or carrying out specific tasks which have furthered the IRSE's aims and objectives.

If you want to nominate someone for an IRSE Merit Award, please read and complete the nomination form.

John Chaddock, Park Signalling Ltd, has been awarded a Merit Award in 2023, click here for further details

John shows tremendous effort, interest, and passion in making the IRSE accessible and informative for all those with a similar interest. Alongside his works with the Junior Members, he has recently started as the IRSE Exams Tutor for fellow employees at Park Signalling where he is currently mentoring three people through the syllabus, all of which signed up for the Module A exam in October 22.

Nominating John for a Merit Award, Robert Terry, Verification and Validation Engineer at Park Signalling and former IRSE Testing Licence holder, noted: “John's enthusiasm and detailed teaching was the change needed to get us into sitting the exams and going in as prepared as possible.”

Bill Redfern, Hon. Secretary, IRSE Midlands and North Western Section, also noted: “… John’s boundless enthusiasm for promoting the values and benefits of the IRSE. This applies within Park signalling and across the wider industry. He, with others, was instrumental in the rejuvenation of the younger members’ section.”

David Stratton MIRSE has been awarded a Merit Award in 2023, click here for further details

Having joined the Institution as a Member in 1974, David was the editor of the main IRSE Papers, formerly the London papers, from 2002 to 2018.

He corrected and proof-read all the main papers both for printing as advance copies in earlier times, and for printing in IRSE News, and has also been responsible for completing the table of papers presented. More recently David has edited the Industry News section and proof-read all IRSE News items, regularly spotting and correcting errors others miss. He is now retiring from the role due to his failing eyesight.

David’s valuable contribution goes unseen by the membership, as they only get to see the finished articles.

He has carried out these tasks with un-assuming modesty, working to very tight deadlines, and with contributions from many authors for whom English is not their first language.

Dell Award

The Dell Award is made annually under a bequest of the late Robert Dell OBE (Past President). It is awarded to a member of the Institution employed by London Underground Ltd (or its successor bodies) for achievement of a high standard of skill in the science and application of railway signalling. The award takes the form of a plaque with a uniquely designed shield being added each year with the recipient’s name engraved on it and a cheque to spend as the recipient wishes.

Jerry Carter MIRSE is the 2023 Dell Award winner, click here for further details

Jerry’s career began in 1976 when he joined London Transport as a Trainee Technician. After completing the scheme he joined the signal design office in Acton, west London in 1980, where he was involved in a range of projects including the production of Routing Specification from which the Boolean data was produced for each of the local site computers as part of the Jubilee & Metropolitan Line centralised control. Jerry produced the site-based risk assessment to address premature wire degradation of thin-walled wire.

By the early 1990s Jerry was leading a team of engineers who delivered the Watford-Croxley re-signalling as well as undertaking immunisation works to support the introduction of the Heathrow Express. Later that decade Jerry was supporting the acceptance of designs for the Jubilee Line Extension (JLE) project to the east of London from Green Park to Stratford. Those reviews were undertaken under the scrutiny of the ORR and the JLE was opened in time for the much-anticipated millennium celebrations.

In 2003, under the Public Private Partnership contract, Jerry moved to Tube Lines as a principal engineer. Here he oversaw the introduction of 7-car trains and the Seltrac S40 system on the Jubilee Line. Jerry also served as Technical Mentor for the IRSE licencing scheme when Tube Lines was an assessing agency.

Over the years Jerry has developed various simulations of signalling sub-systems using the Boolean logic functions available in Excel, enabling him to simulate the cyclic nature of Ladder Logic, the operation of trailable points in depots, and of a relay-based “plate-rack” known as a Changeover-Cubicle.

After more than thirty years in signal design Jerry was appointed as the Signal & C&I Asset Engineer for Tube Lines, the official receiver of assurance for all of Tube Lines’ signal and C&I assets, both for design and maintenance. Here he oversaw the introduction of SelTrac S40 on the Northern Line and was heavily involved in the management planning for maintenance during the 2012 London Olympics, where any failures or service perturbations would have had a much greater impact than normal. Jerry introduced 16-week maintenance cycles and eliminated the four-year routine change backlog through a phased reduction.

In 2018, as part of a major re-organisation within TfL, Jerry was appointed Principal Engineering Leader, managing a team of highly skilled and knowledgeable engineers with particular emphasis on their knowledge of TBTC and CBTC systems. He has supported projects which have included the extension of the Northern Line to Battersea, performance improvements under “Working Timetable 58”, and the capacity enhancement works at Bank.

Coming full circle, for the past three years Jerry has been the lead sponsor for Signalling Design apprentices, during which time he has seen eight apprentices roll off the scheme and supporting most of them through some of the most challenging times of the pandemic. He is always willing to take time to share his knowledge and experience, something evidenced by his contribution to the 2022 IRSE book entitled “Metro Train Control Systems”, and support the review of IRSE exam questions for their applicability to Metro systems.

Thorrowgood Scholarship Award

The Thorrowgood Scholarship is awarded under a bequest of the late W J Thorrowgood (Past President) to assist the development of a young engineer employed in the signalling and telecommunications field of engineering and takes the form of an engraved medallion and a sum of approximately £1500 to be used to finance an industry-based study tour or alternative professional development activity. 

The award is made to the Institution young member(s) who has excelled in the Institution’s exam that year, nominated by Exam Committee and approved by Council, subject to a satisfactory interview.

Ashley Murray AMIRSE has been jointly awarded the Thorrowgood Scholarship in 2023, click here for further details

Ashley began his career in railway signalling as an electrical apprentice with a government owned corporation, Queensland Rail in 2011. Upon completion of the apprenticeship in the signalling maintenance department, he went on to complete advanced trade qualifications in railway signalling, working as a signal maintenance and operational systems electrician, going on to fulfil further roles including team leader, and in training.

In 2021 Ashely completed his IRSE Graduate Diploma in Railway Signalling (delivered by Competency Australia), and successfully completed the IRSE exams to gain both the Certificate in Railway Control Engineering Fundamentals, and Advanced Diploma of Railway Control Engineering.

In his current role as a signalling lead in the Major Projects Integration department of Queensland Rail Ashley has gained broad and extensive knowledge of Railway Signalling, working alongside some highly experienced Signal Engineers. Ashley has a strong interest in the Test and Commissioning area and continues his development in this area of Railway Signalling.

Ashley gained distinctions in modules B and C and a pass in module D, all in October 2022’s exams. He had previously gained a credit in the Certificate (module A) in October 2020.

Joseph Conlon has been jointly awarded the Thorrowgood Scholarship in 2023, click here for further details

Joseph is a graduate engineer who has worked for SNC-Lavalin Atkins’ Rail Consulting business for the past 3 years. He graduated from the University of Glasgow in 2019 after reading mechanical engineering, with a focus on optical fibre sensing. After completing his master’s degree, he moved to the Middle East to work as a research assistant, whilst continuing his research into optoelectronics.

After becoming acquainted with the railway industry by researching the applications of dark fibre distributed sensing for the purposes of train detection, Joseph applied to Atkins and moved to London, starting their graduate scheme in 2020. He has worked in a variety of roles and projects since, such as performing safety case work for the Northern Line Extension, modelling ATP overspeed scenarios for new rolling stock on Canada’s Trillium Line, and more recently performing systems integration for HS2.

Joseph sat Certificate (Mod A) of the IRSE exam in March of 2022, and the remaining 3 modules in October. He is excited to continue applying the knowledge learnt from these exams in a professional setting and moving into a technical leadership role after completing his graduate scheme this year.

IRSE-Signet Award

The IRSE-Signet Award was introduced in 2016, and it represents a further way of recognising high performance in the IRSE's Professional Examination. The Award is made annually to the candidate who achieves the highest marks in any single module of the Exam (modules B, C or D). The Award is made jointly by the IRSE and Signet Solutions Ltd and was introduced on the 20th anniversary of the formation of the Company. The winner receives an individually engraved trophy and £1500 funding to support attendance at the Institution's annual International Convention or ASPECT conference.

The winner is nominated by Exam committee and approved by Council, subject to a satisfactory interview.

Istvan Darazsi is the winner of the 2023 IRSE-Signet Award, click here for further details

István is a railway signalling engineer with wide knowledge of electronic interlocking systems and ETCS.

He graduated Budapest University of Technology and Economics with an MSc in Transportation Engineering, specialising in Railway Automation.

After working for five years in various domestic signalling and ETCS projects in Hungary as a Project Engineer for Thales, he moved to Ireland in 2019 to work for Iarnród Éireann on the TPS Project to deliver a new train protection system nationwide. Since the project has changed its course towards ETCS Level 1, he has been leading the development of the customer requirement specifications and the concept design for the generic application in Ireland.

He applied for an affiliate membership of IRSE when he arrived in Ireland. He has now completed his IRSE Advanced Diploma in Railway Control Engineering.

István gained the highest marks in module C of the Institution’s Exam, Principles of railway control and communication systems. Remarkably, this is his second IRSE-Signet award having also receiving the award in recognition of his achievement in module B last year. This is the first time this has happened in the history of the presentation of these awards.

Hewlett Fisher Bursaries

Hewlett Fisher Bursaries are awarded annually to enable IRSE early careers members to travel to the international Convention or ASPECT conference in the year. They are made through a bequest of the late Frank Hewlett (IRSE member) and a fund established in the memory of the late Alan Fisher, who died during his IRSE Presidential year. A number of bursaries are awarded each year and provide funding towards travel and accommodation.

If you are interested in applying for a Hewlett Fisher bursary, details of how to apply are announced for each International Convention and ASPECT conference.

15 IRSE members in their early careers have been awarded Hewlett Fisher Bursaries to attend ASPECT 2023 in Melbourne Australia, click here for further details

The 15 IRSE members who have been awarded the Hewlett Fisher Bursary to attend ASPECT 2023 are:

  • Aimee MacDonald
  • Alex Daley AMIRSE
  • Ashutosh Singh AMIRSE
  • Caroline Horton
  • Dan Barton MIRSE
  • Desmond Khoo
  • Eddie Ying Min Li MIRSE
  • Ewan Burns
  • Fabian Raaijman
  • Kallum Lee
  • Louis Moore
  • Pfariso Khalushi
  • Pieter van der Beek MIRSE
  • Tyson Moore
  • Ziyulong Wang AMIRSE