(Proceedings from 1997 - Present)
The American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) was formed on October 1, 1997, as the result of a merger of three engineering associations - the American Railway Bridge and Building Association (ARB&B), the American Railway Engineering Association (AREA) and the Roadmaster's and Maintenance of Way Association (RMWA), along with functions of the Communications and Signals Division of the Association of American Railroads. During the merger discussions, it was decided to use the original AREA name (American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association – Formed in 1899) as the official name of the new organization and to use the acronym “AREMA” in reference to it.
Each of the four groups that came together to form AREMA have, in their own way, built an excellent foundation upon which to base AREMA, whose mission is the development and advancement of both technical and practical knowledge and recommended practices pertaining to the design, construction and maintenance of railway infrastructure.
The rich history of the predecessor organizations, each having over 100 years of service to the rail industry, is the legacy of AREMA now and in the future.
Roadmaster's and Maintenance of Way Association
(Proceedings from 1930 - 1999)
The oldest of the predecessor groups is the Roadmaster's and Maintenance of Way Association. It was organized in 1883 by 61 roadmasters representing 24 railroads, who recognized the need for an organization through which maintenance officers would have an opportunity to meet and discuss their mutual problems. The organization of a Roadmaster's Association was a pioneer effort, and the men who organized it and fashioned its policies and methods of procedure, with few exceptions, had no experience with association work. At the beginning of the Association, it was dedicated to work through committees and publish the results in the Proceedings, a practice that was continued through its 114-year history. Rail joints, switches, frogs and ties were among the subjects studied from the Association’s inception, and the standardization of maintenance practices were a large part of every program in the early years. The Roadmaster’s association has a history of constructive effort and important accomplishments, a heritage that cannot be ignored.
American Railway Engineering Association
(Proceedings from 1900 - 1997)
At the suggestion of Railway Age magazine, a meeting was held in Chicago on October 21, 1898, to organize a forum for the development and study of recommended practices for the newly-integrated standard-gauge North American railway network. This led to a meeting in 1899 in Buffalo, New York, to adopt a constitution and establish a permanent organization named the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association, which was later shortened to the American Railway Engineering Association (AREA). From its inception, AREA dealt with the many engineering challenges through standing technical committees. Five of those committees – ties, rail, track, buildings and yards and terminals continued intact continuously from 1899 until the merger and still continue under AREMA functional groups. In 1905, AREA issued its first Manual of Recommended Practices. Its name was changed to the Manual for Railway Engineering in 1970 and is updated annually by the technical committees. The manual, which is now also available on CD-ROM, was continued under AREMA.