Jerry Rogers of the American Society of Civil Engineers and Stuart Cameron of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers were joined by their UK counterparts in Rainhill, the town where the famous railway trials of 1829 took place and at which Robert Stephenson's locomotive Rocket was declared the winner.
St Helens Council Leader Barrie Grunewald said: "The world owes much to the pioneering developments that took place in and around St Helens. The economic and social impact of the railway across the globe was, without exaggeration, immense."
Darrell Matthews, ICE North West Regional Director, said: "George Stephenson came from very humble origins with no formal education and yet became one of the world's great pioneering engineers. His son Robert went on to become President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and their achievements literally helped create the modern world. This is a very fitting tribute to them and their work."
Derek Houghton, Chairman of Rainhill Railway and Heritage Society said: "Our thanks go to the sponsoring organisations for this important recognition of the significance of Rainhill in the history of transport and engineering. It emphasises the place in history of Rainhill and the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, and supports our ambition to see the line become a World Heritage site. The society, in conjunction with Rainhill Parish Council, is working towards a major celebration of the 190th anniversary of the Trials, to be held in 2019."