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.


The 2022 award winner is:
Carolina Connector Intermodal Project – CSX and North Carolina Department of Transportation

Previous winners are:
1999 – Thayer Subdivision Maintenance Blitz – BNSF Railway
2000 – NE Corridor Improvement Project – Amtrak
2001 – B&O Capacity Improvement Project – CSX Transportation
2002 – Alameda Corridor Project – Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority
2003 – JFK International Airport Light Rail System – Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and AirRail Transit Consortium
2004 – Restoration of PATH Commuter Rail Service to Lower Manhattan, NYC and Exchange Place, Jersey City – Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
2005 – Renaissance of a Junction: The Kansas City Junction – TranSystems Corporation
2006 – Hurricane Katrina Reconstruction Efforts – CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway
2007 – Keystone Buildout Project, Pennsylvania – Norfolk Southern Railway
2008 – Grant Tower Realignment Project – Union Pacific Railroad Company
2009 – Frazier Slide Clean-up/Construction Project – Union Pacific Railroad Company
2010 – Heartland Corridor Clearance Improvement Project – Norfolk Southern Railway
2011 – Northwest Ohio Intermodal Terminal – CSX Intermodal Terminals, Inc.
2012 – Rising Above: How BNSF overcame the 2011 Floods – BNSF Railway
2013 – Front Runner South Commuter Rail Line – Utah Transit Authority
2014 – Santa Teresa Intermodal Ramp and Fueling Facility – Union Pacific Railroad
2015 – Tower 55 Multimodal Improvement Project – Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF Railway
2016 – CREATE Project P-1: Englewood Flyover in Chicago – TranSystems
2017 – BNSF/WSDOT Passenger Rail Improvements – Washington State Department of Transportation and BNSF
2018 – Fulton Center in New York City – Arup
2019 – Rising to Meet the Challenge: Main North Line Earthquake Recovery Project – New Zealand’s KiwiRail
2020 – Grand River Bridge Emergency Repairs near Brunswick, MO – Hanson Professional Services Inc.
2021 – Construction of the New McComb Bonnet Carré Spillway Bridge – CN Railway