Dr. William W. Hay Award for Excellence

William W. Hay speaking about High Speed Rail in Illinois in the 1970's.

The Dr. William W. Hay Award for Excellence was established in 1999 by the Directors of AREMA to recognize outstanding achievement in railway engineering and to honor the memory and accomplishments of one of their members and leaders: William Walter Hay. Dr. Hay was a professional railroader in both the military transportation service and the private railway industry. He was a consultant on design, construction and operations of railroads and, for over 25 years, he was a Professor of Railway Civil Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  He was also a teacher, motivator and mentor for dozens of men and women who chose to enter the transportation industry. The purpose of the award is to honor innovative railway engineering procedures, projects and products and the individual(s) who have created and successfully applied them to the railroad industry.



Criteria for winning the award are:

  • Innovation – The development and/or application of new concepts, products or practices including state-of-the-art physical and information-oriented technology.
  • Safety – The enhancement of safety in either the application itself or as a process of procedure which contributes to the overall safety of railroad personnel or railway operations.
  • Service Performance and Reliability – An undertaking which contributes to more efficient, effective and reliable railway performance, especially as viewed by the railroad’s customers.
    Consideration is also given to the project’s objective, stated goals, costs and benefit achievement and the general advancement of the base of railway engineering knowledge.

Winners of the award are:
1999 – BNSF Thayer Subdivision Maintenance Blitz
2000 – Amtrack NE Corridor Improvement Project
2001 – B&O Capacity Improvement Project on CSXT
2002 – Alameda Corridor
2003 – JFK International Airport Light Rail System
2004 – Restoration of PATH
2005 – The Kansas City Junction
2006 – Hurricane Katrina Reconstruction Efforts (Joint Award to CSXT and NS)
2007 – Keystone Buildout Project, Pennsylvania
2008 – Grant Tower Realignment Project
2009 – Frazier Slide Clean-up/Construction Project – UPRR
2010 – NS Heartland Corridor Clearance Improvement Project
2011 – CSXT Northwest Ohio Intermodal Terminal
2012 – How BNSF overcame the 2011 Floods
2013 – Front Runner South Commuter Rail Line
2014 – UP Santa Teresa Intermodal Ramp and Fueling Facility
2015 – UP/BNSF Tower 55 Multimodal Improvement Project
2016 – CREATE Project P-1: Englewood Flyover in Chicago
2017 – BNSF/WSDOT Passenger Rail Improvements
2018 – Fulton Center in New York City
2019 – New Zealand’s KiwiRail: Main North Line Earthquake Recovery Project
2020 – Grand River Bridge Emergency Repairs near Brunswick, MO
2021 – Construction of the New McComb Bonnet Carré Spillway Bridge – CN Railway