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Member profiles

IRSE members come from a wide variety of educational and career backgrounds, and they engage in a wide variety of activities within the broad field of train control and communications.  Here is a small selection of member profiles that illustrates that breadth.  If you aren’t yet a member, why not consider joining them?

Click on the images to view their profile. Use the left and right arrows to scroll through the images.

David Nicholson
from control systems to IRSE Member
Manish Khanna
from planning engineer to IRSE Member
Sofia Angelara
from english literature to IRSE Member
Ronald Bresser
from transformers to IRSE member
Matt Phillips
from architecture to advanced rail technology
Ajay Kulshreshth
from mechanical engineer to IRSE Member
Carine Marin
from automotive industry to the rail industry
Gowthaman Selvaraju
from graduate to IRSE Member
David Nicholson "From Control Systems to IRSE Member"
I encourage particularly those from a control systems or software background to embrace the opportunities in rail signal engineering- it is absorbing and rewarding.

My attraction to railways really began as a child, but my first employer was not in the rail industry. That first job grounded my engineering knowledge and embedded in me sound engineering principles, working as a control systems engineer. My next role involved working on a railway project but, while necessary for my career development, was not sufficient to satisfy a growing desire to work on safety-critical systems, and specifically railway signalling.

My next employer was a more conventional railway engineering company, where I found myself working initially on a large railway project. This provided the opportunity to learn from more experienced colleagues, and the syllabus of the IRSE examination* provided a framework about what to learn. The exam, and a desire to succeed at the day job, provided the motivation to learn. The fact that I had not followed a more traditional route to becoming a signal engineer did not prove to be a disadvantage in becoming a Member of the IRSE.


Engagement with the industry experts through IRSE technical visits, work on railway projects, and learning from papers and articles, have enabled me to continue to learn. I now undertake significant engineering roles on signalling projects, and have developed particular expertise in the European Train Control System. Most importantly, I now pass on my accumulated knowledge and experience to others, for instance by leading a study group for the IRSE exam.

* The IRSE offers an Examination for those wishing to demonstrate their knowledge of railway signalling and telecommunications. It is one of the routes by which people can become a full Member of the IRSE.

Manish Khanna "From Planning Engineer to IRSE Member"
There are lots of career opportunities in railways, and there is always a need for planning engineers with signalling knowledge.

After graduating in Engineering, my first employer was Bharat Electronics, who manufacture products such as radar. My next role involved working in the copper component industry, where I had the opportunity to be a part of the team doing shop floor planning to meet the client requirements.

Meanwhile, I was attracted towards railways and so I joined my next employer (Atkins Rail, Sharjah/UAE), where I started working as a Planning Engineer for managing UK Railway Signalling Projects. I started to learn about signalling - but it was challenging for me to do efficient planning because I didn't know enough about signalling design processes.


I became fascinated by signalling and wanted to learn more. With the support of more experienced colleagues, I passed 3 modules of the IRSE examination* and qualified for my IRSE Signalling Designer licence. With the knowledge and experience gained, I was more able to resolve issues relating to signalling projects. Eventually I progressed sufficiently to become a Member of the IRSE, and to be accredited as a Chartered Engineer.

* The IRSE offers an Examination for those wishing to demonstrate their knowledge of railway signalling and telecommunications. It is one of the routes by which people can become a full Member of the IRSE.

Sofia Angelara "From English Literature to IRSE Member"
The IRSE is key to my career development and I want to encourage others to join and gain the benefits of membership.

Having obtained my MA in English Literature I consider myself very lucky to have forged a career in UK, Systems & Safety Engineering despite the unusual route in. I am currently working as a Systems & Safety Engineer for Atkins (Member of the SNC Lavalin Group) based in The Exchange, Manchester office, after having in my background 4 years of Signalling Design experience and having achieved the IRSE Designer License. With so much more to learn in the industry, I regularly attend technical paper discussions and seminars organised by IRSE to further my knowledge and develop an effective network of contacts. Also, I am the current National Vice- Chair and NW Chair-person of Young Rail Professionals, while co-organising technical and networking events promoting the Railway industry. Perhaps the best achievement of my career to date was being shortlisted for the UK Young Rail Professional (YRP) of the Year Award in 2015 on the basis of my achievements to date.


I have worked on a variety of UK projects, including the 600m Northern Hub programme and High Speed 2, for a range of clients, gaining satisfaction from delivering work in an accurate and timely manner both when working individually and as part of a team. My involvement with YRP is a great opportunity to encourage other rail professionals to consider a career in Rail engineering and to become members of the IRSE, where they can find support for their professional development and a network of experienced engineers to guide them.

Ronald Bresser "From Transformers to IRSE Member"
The IRSE has not only helped me to broaden my horizons in the world of railway signalling but also has been a major influence on my personal and professional development.

From a young age I've been fascinated by trains. Witnessing the arrival of high speed trains in the 1980s also influenced my educational choices, I went to the Institute of Technology (HTS) in the Netherlands and studied electro-technical engineering. My very first job was at a transformer factory, then I went to work at Holland Railconsult (now Movares), an engineering firm working on railway related projects. During my first year there I took an internal study in railway signalling, a subject that isn't taught at school in the Netherlands. Very soon I was able to take an active part in signalling projects.

I had been looking for a professional organisation in this field since graduating. Through colleagues who were members of the IRSE I requested some information about membership, and with their support I became a member in 2001.


Being an IRSE member is not a requirement for working on railway signalling systems in the Netherlands. However I wanted to become a member in order to see signalling installations abroad, meet with fellow engineers from those countries, and develop my knowledge. Being appreciated as a person and for my knowledge by fellow engineers is very much part of my experience of any activity with the IRSE, no matter where in the world we are.

The IRSE has not only helped me to broaden my horizons in the world of railway signalling but also has been a major influence on my personal and professional development. I am proud to be working on prestigious railway projects, and to be a member of the IRSE.

Matt Phillips "From Architecture to Advanced Rail Technology"
I want to give the next generation of graduates the same opportunities to prove themselves as I was given. Ability is more important than grey hair!

My route to becoming a Companion of the IRSE was certainly unconventional! After graduating from university with a degree in Architecture, I started my career at Arup as a design manager in the construction industry. I first experienced the rail sector through projects such as Birmingham New Street Station redevelopment and Modular Station concept development, and I began to gain a broader appreciation of the railway industry and the challenges it faced.

My next job was as project manager for Network Rail's Network Management Centre buildings in the UK - a precursor to the current Traffic Management Systems programme. I found myself becoming more and more involved in the software aspects of the project and so I began studying software development and information systems, gaining a master's degree in Management and Information Systems. I spent the next seven years within the Lockheed Martin Control Systems Integration team on the UK

West Coast Route Modernisation Programme, eventually becoming the Head of Signalling and Control Systems Integration. There I directed control centre delivery as well as leading the coordination, integration and delivery of more than £1 billion of signalling, controls and telecoms work. In 2007 I joined Ansaldo-STS as their Head of Projects, overseeing the delivery of the Cambrian ERTMS project into passenger.

I am now Director for Railway Control Systems at Interfleet, where I have grown a consulting business focussed around advanced signalling, control and communications technologies. Our team is involved in many of the most challenging signalling projects in the UK and worldwide, including the national ETCS, GSM-R and TMS programmes, Crossrail, and resignalling programmes on London Underground that push the latest technologies to their limits

Ajay Kulshreshth "From Mechanical Engineer to IRSE Member"
My IRSE membership has given me a great deal of confidence in handling railway signalling projects

As a mechanical engineer I was fascinated by the world of railways as soon as I went to college. By luck I got an opportunity to work with Indian Railways. Originally a mechanical engineer by qualification, I entered the field of railway signalling initially with responsibility for managing maintenance on the Indian Railways. I enjoying learning about points, signals, interlocking, track circuits and axle counters.

10 years project engineering for the installation and commissioning of new signalling on the West Coast Line of Konkan Railway gave me confidence in handling major projects. Creating this new signalling system from scratch to commissioning was a life time achievement for me.


I then took a risk in accepting a new assignment working on Network Rail UK related projects, after more than 23 years in Indian Railways where I had reached the level of Deputy Chief Signal & Telecommunication Engineer.

On the basis of my experience of railway signalling, I applied for membership of the IRSE. I was able to demonstrate my knowledge of railway signalling by highlighting my experience of Indian Railways and my exposure to UK signalling practices in my application. My membership of the IRSE has given me a great deal of confidence in handling railway signalling projects for Network Rail UK and has enabled me to become a Chartered Engineer.

Carine Marin 'From Automotive Industry to the Rail Industry'
I like to embrace every opportunity to learn and develop. I enjoy working on ERTMS, a signalling system which has major impact on the whole of the railway industry. I'm looking forward to the future!

I started my professional career in the automotive industry in France, working on glazing and air conditioning systems. That first job grounded my engineering knowledge and taught me about stakeholder engagement and management. My next role involved working on mechanical parts for side doors, and this taught me about system engineering and control systems. Mechanical parts can fail but only a whole system approach can lead to safety and success!

After 10 years in the automotive industry, I moved to the UK and decided to change my career path by joining the Network Rail ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System) Programme. This provided the opportunity to learn about a new industry and a new control system. The fact that I had not

followed a more traditional route to becoming a signalling engineer did not prove to be a disadvantage as when I joined the programme, even the more experienced railway engineers were still learning about this new technology!

Engagement with industry experts through work on a wide variety of railway projects, and reading papers and articles have enabled me to continue to develop my knowledge. I now work for SNC Lavalin in the UK, undertaking leading roles on ETCS (European Train Control system) signalling projects and continue to learn by developing this technology further, for example to provide automatic operation on mainline trains. I have gained valuable knowledge from attending IRSE events, including a conference on DAS and ATO.

Gowthaman Selvaraju- "From Graduate to IRSE Member"
I like to be a role-model for graduates who can contribute to the success and safety of railways through signal engineering.

After graduation in Engineering, I joined the railway signalling industry. By attending comprehensive in-house training and field training courses in India and the UK, I have learned the principles of railway signalling, the technology and the safety concepts in a short span of time. I have also worked on a variety of projects under mentorship and I gained an IRSE Signalling Designer licence.

With the knowledge I have gained, I have taken the IRSE Exam*, successfully passing all the modules that I took (1, 2, 3, 5 & 7). I have also developed additional skills to gain my IRSE Signalling Principles Designer and Design Verifier licences. After that, with scheme development experience, I have also gained the IRSE Signalling Scheme Designer Licence.


I have taken on responsibilities as technical lead for many projects and this experience enabled me to apply for membership of IRSE.

I have also attended one of the annual IRSE conferences which was excellent and very useful to me.

* The IRSE offers an Examination for those wishing to demonstrate their knowledge of railway signalling and telecommunications. It is one of the routes by which people can become a full Member of the IRSE.