International Experience

Meet our secretary Jane Power in the editorial for IRSE News 256.

The IRSE’s International Technical Committee (ITC) is a collection of eminent professionals from all corners of the signalling and telecommunications world. There are representatives from many European countries, Canada, Singapore, Japan and Australia. There is a broad cross-section of backgrounds, covering research institutes, universities, operators and suppliers. The expertise and experience of the group include both metro and main line signalling, telecoms and other specialised areas. Its collective knowledge of railway signalling is one of the best in the world.

Its mission is to share knowledge across the industry and the world. The main output of the committee is a series of articles, which are published in IRSE News. In this issue there are three articles provided by the ITC, including “Reflecting on the IRSE ITC” by Clive Kessell which provides the history and further details of the group.

There are normally four meetings held each year in different countries. Topics are suggested and the lead person develops a 30 second message, which outlines the proposed article. The topic is debated at the committee meetings where the direction and focus is agreed. There are many interesting and lively debates in the meetings as well as via email. The topic leaders then write the article which is circulated for comment by the committee.

Each meeting is hosted by one of the members and it is traditional to organise a technical visit for the meeting, sometimes to coincide with an event of interest. For example, last year one was held in Lugano, Switzerland at the start of the IRSE convention, and one in Berlin, Germany to coincide with Innotrans. We were also fortunate to visit the Railcenter at Amersfoort and see the ETCS test suites and many railway innovations like virtual reality headsets for asset identification.

The topics range widely in subject matter including “Achieving high levels of signalling system availability” (IRSE News September 2018) and ‘Track worker safety’ (IRSE News May 2018).

One of my favourites last year was “Why do signalling projects fail?” (also IRSE News May 2018) which was a fascinating article by Alan Rumsey. The contributions from all over the world showed how much we have in common rather than highlighting our differences.

Published by IRSE ITC

The IRSE ITC (Institution of Railway Signal Engineers - International Technical Committee) provides an International and Independent perspective on Railway Control, Command and Signalling (CCS) by a group of widely recognised experts, to both IRSE members and the signalling community worldwide.

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