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 design and operations called the “Watford Fellowship.”  The 2018 Fellowship will consist of three paid registrations to the 2018 Watford Conference in Europe valued at approximately US$1600.00. The 2018 event is organized by the railway personnel from the various train operating companies and will include tours of recent infrastructure and rolling stock projects. The four day conference, targeted for late October in France, includes presentations by the attendees in all aspects of railway planning and design with an emphasis on buildings, bridge and tunnel structures, and corporate identity.  

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 internal travel expenses including hotel, most meals, all local travel, and admissions.  The only added cost to a North American would be trans-Atlantic air travel (could be done using airline rewards) and incidental expenses not part of the conference registration.  

Eligibility Criteria

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, 2017 and January, 2018;
  3. Have not less than three years nor more than 20 years of railway industry employment as of September 1, 2018;
  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 Conference registration fee;
  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 
Each applicant must complete the required application and certification form which can be downloaded below. The application must include 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.  An applicant may submit more than one abstract. The AREMA selection panel will evaluate all submitted materials to identify individuals 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 30, 2018. Selectees will be announced by June 15, 2018.

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. 

For individuals requiring professional continuing education, the US Watford Committee will provide a certificate of PDHs reflecting the number of conference instruction hours.  The individual state registration board is the final authority of the number of PD hours credited. 

The US Watford Committee welcomes participation by railway professionals committed to quality design in railway transportation to be a part of the US Delegation.  For more information, contact the Watford Liaison.   
Application and Certification