Royal guest for IRSE at ASPECT 2012

Source: Rail Technology Magazine Aug/Sept 2012

Ian Mitchell, chair of the conference committee organising the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers ASPECT 2012 conference, discusses the upcoming event and the IRSE’s centenary year.

The Institution of Railway Signal Engineers is the premier professional institution for those involved or interested in the fi eld of railway signalling, train control and communications.

The IRSE was incorporated in 1912, so it is celebrating its centenary this year. From beginnings in the UK, it is now an international organisation with nearly 5,000 members and active sections in Australasia, Hong Kong, India, Netherlands, North America, Singapore, southern Africa and Switzerland.

The IRSE is launching its centenary year with a three-day international conference at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London. ASPECT 2012 will provide a platform for 32 speakers from 15 different countries to present their experience and ideas related to railway communications and control.

The conference starts on Monday 10 September with the inauguration of the centenary year, and the IRSE is particularly pleased to welcome Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal who is attending as guest of honour for this part of the event, which will see the launch of a new IRSE book, documenting the history of the institution and the advances in railway signalling and telecommunications since its inception.

To emphasise the IRSE’s international dimension, members from Switzerland and Hong Kong will describe how signalling has developed in their regions over this period, and another paper will review messages from the institution’s proceedings published over the last 100 years that are still relevant today.

From then on the conference focuses strongly on the theme of the year, which is ‘Facing the Future’, and the two succeeding days each start with a paper on a ‘sustainability’ theme. On Tuesday, Dr Michael Leining, the head of signalling at DB in Germany addresses the topic of fi nancial sustainability, describing an initiative to reduce the unit costs of signalling renewals to an affordable level through system engineering, and on Wednesday, Peter Symons of Triton Pty Ltd in Australia looks at the carbon footprint of railway signalling.

ASPECT stands for Automation, Signalling, Performance, Equipment, Control, Telecommunications – and the conference looks at the profession from all angles. There are papers describing projects and technology, safety and operational issues, competency and training, management of maintenance, obsolescence and technology transfer. Main line, light rail and metro applications are all covered. One session is devoted to ERTMS/ ETCS, and, signifi cantly, half of these papers are looking at this in the context of applications outside Europe.

The ASPECT 2012 experience is more than just listening to speakers; throughout the conference there will be an exhibition of products and services in the catering areas outside the main auditorium, with ample time for networking with other attendees, speakers and exhibitors. There will also be two highclass evening social events, a drinks reception at the House of Lords and a conference dinner with an entertaining railway industry speaker.

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