Each year, the Chairman of the IRSE Australasian Section recognises an individual that has made a significant contribution to the rail industry. Chairman Steve Boshier presented this year’s award to Les Brearley at the 2010 AusRail Gala Dinner in Perth in front of 1,000 industry participants.
Steve went on to explain why Les was a worthy candidate and had been selected to receive this prestige’s award. He said that a number of engineers seek to serve their peers through professional organisations, with the IRSE being one of those organisations. For more than 36 years Les Brearley has been serving other engineers through his involvement in the rail industry and in that time has made a significant contribution through his work in three key areas:-
Whilst at Queensland Rail, Les was the Manager Safe Working and oversaw the rewriting of the Book of Rules into operational procedures and he also introduced steps to improve the safety culture of QR.
During that time he was an industry representative on the working party that developed the intergovernmental agreement on rail safety, he was on the Standards Australia Technical committee that prepared the AS4292 suite of Railway Safety Management and was on the drafting committee for the head standard - Railway Safety management – general requirements.
Contribution through the IRSE
Les has been an active member of the IRSE for over 34 years. He joined the IRSE as a student and successfully completed the IRSE professional exam. He has served on the Australasian committee for over 17 years, and helped organise numerous technical meetings & conferences. Les was the Vice Chairman in 2000, and then Australasian Chairman in 2001 and 2002.
The training of future signal and telecommunications engineers
Les saw a need for professional development of railway signal and telecommunications engineers and in 2002 participated in the original industry workshop for the Rail CRC which decided that the development of post graduate courses on railway engineering was a priority.
He managed the development of the six courses making up the Diploma course.
The development of the course required over three man years of effort and required much encouragement, persistence and a little bit of nagging of volunteer writers to get to the stage where the initial course was run in 2004. He has continued to be involved in the course as chairman of the Professional Education Committee and updating the course material.
To date there have been over 100 engineers who have successfully completed the Diploma and over 40 who have successfully completed the Certificate. This year it is anticipated that there will be an additional 50 engineers to complete the Diploma.
Les has made and is continuing to make a significant contribution to the rail industry.