The “Watford Fellowship” 

An AREMA Educational Initiative For “Early Career” Individuals Involved With Railway Infrastructure Design

The AREMA Educational Foundation in cooperation with the US Committee to the Watford Group of International Railway Designers has created a unique learning opportunity for aspiring railway employees to gain international perspective of railroad and transit design and operations called the “Watford Fellowship.”  The 2020 Fellowship will consist of a paid registration to the 2020 Watford Conference in Singapore.  This Conference is organized by the Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) and will include tours of recent infrastructure and rolling stock projects. The three-day conference commences on October 25, 2020 and will include presentations by the attendees in all aspects of railway planning, design, and construction with an emphasis on buildings, bridge and tunnel structures, and corporate identity. On October 28, Watford attendees will have the opportunity to participate in some of the field trips of the Singapore International Transport Congress and Exposition  ( that follows on October 29-30.  The Watford Fellowship grant does not include registration for the SITCE event.  Singapore’s rail network is one of the most advanced urban passenger systems in the world and will be of keen interest to AREMA members in the Passenger/Transit, Structures, and Engineering Services Functional Groups.  There is no rail freight service in Singapore but freight topics are included in the Watford Conference agenda. 

The Watford Group was created in 1963 by British Railways to encourage the exchange of ideas and promote design excellence among its operating regions; other countries were invited to join and subsequently, over twenty nations are now eligible to send delegates to the annual Watford Conference.  The meetings mostly occur in Europe but have been held in Japan and the United States. 
The Watford Group is one of the very few global organizations that integrate all aspects of rail transportation under the umbrella of "good design is good business."

The goals of this initiative are twofold:  to broaden professional horizons of aspiring railroaders while enabling them to carry the AREMA brand internationally and, to add new members to the US Watford Committee that can carry on the tradition of Watford Conference participation and the educational benefits that accrue.  

The Watford Conference registration fee includes nearly all of the meals during the conference, all local travel, and admission fees for conference activities. The Watford Fellowship grant will reimburse up to five nights of hotel accommodation and incidental meals in Singapore not covered by the registration fee. The only added cost to a North American would be trans-Pacific air travel (could be done using airline rewards) and expenses before and after the conference.  The total value of the grant may not exceed US$ 2500.  

To be eligible for a Watford Fellowship, the applicant must:

  1. Be a member in good standing of an AREMA Technical Committee;
  2. Be a direct employee of a US or Canadian regulated rail carrier, a public or private entity responsible for providing and/or sponsoring passenger rail service, or a consultant employee assigned to a single public entity passenger provider on .75 FTE basis between July, 2019 and February, 2020;
  3. Have not less than three years nor more than 20 years of railway industry employment as of September 1, 2020;
  4. Have the written approval of his/her employer to attend the Watford Conference and participate in post conference events organized by AREMA;
  5. If a consultant employee, submit an eligibility certification letter from the passenger service entity;
  6. Commit to paying all personal travel and transportation costs required that are not included in the Watford Fellowship grant;
  7. Commit to making at least one technical presentation at the Watford Conference on some aspect of railway design about a project executed by his/her employer or another railway company of which he/she has knowledge; and
  8. Commit to hosting an AREMA Webinar derived from the materials obtained at the Watford Conference or make a presentation at a subsequent AREMA Conference or AREMA-sponsored event based upon information obtained or observed.

Each applicant must complete the required application and certification form which can be downloaded from the AREMA Educational Foundation website.  Included on page 2 or attached to the application must be a “Vision Statement” that identifies the applicant’s current position responsibilities with respect to railway design and expresses a strong commitment to obtain and share knowledge with other AREMA members, an employment history, and at least one 150 word abstract of a presentation to be made at the Watford Conference as required by item #7 above. The AREMA selection panel will evaluate all submitted materials to identify an individual which in its opinion, best exemplifies the AREMA and Watford goals.  The decision of the selection panel is final with no right to appeal.

Application deadline is April 13, 2020.   Selectee will be announced by June 10, 2020.

An individual awarded a Watford Fellowship will be required to execute a Grant Agreement with the AREMA Educational Foundation and is solely responsible for personal tax liabilities, if any, incurred on the value of the grant.


Application and Certification