Depth Perception

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Depth Perception

Postby SeaSalt » Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:42 am

Hello (again)!

Is there a test for depth-perception given to candidates for train service positions? My color vision is fine and I have 20/20 vision with glasses, but my depth perception is off. Been working in maritime for years without any safety issues.

Also, is there any such test for mechanic/electrician jobs?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Depth Perception

Postby RDGTRANSMUSEUM » Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:38 am

i would think they still test for depth perception. your gonna need it out there if in train service.
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Re: Depth Perception

Postby jz441 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 5:01 pm

I really don't remember... Mechanics and electricians don't fall under same requirements as train service folks. We had a guy get transferred to mechanical dept after they found out that he is somewhat color blind.
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Re: Depth Perception

Postby MikeEspee » Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:27 pm

There is a depth perception as well as peripheral vision test for most every railroad.
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Re: Depth Perception

Postby RDGTRANSMUSEUM » Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:36 pm

you got me to thinking.......we also took an MMPi test for Conrail
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Re: Depth Perception

Postby SeaSalt » Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:23 pm

Thanks for the replies.

Does this apply to all the RR's or do short-lines offer an "easier" route, for example?

I know that in maritime I only ever had my depth perception tested once and if not for that, I wouldn't have ever known. I still got the job, but I know my DP is poor (on the tests).

No probs with anything else, including color vision, peripheal vision, etc.

Thanks again, sounds like I could always swing a job as a mechanic or electrician.

Also, do all the RR's hire "oilers/fireman" as a kinda shop helper? Sounds like a decent gig with good pay. I have been an oiler and a fireman on-board ships, but that job is about performing routine maintanence on the boilers, diesels, generators, pumps, etc and checking the gauges, temps, etc. while underway.
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Re: Depth Perception

Postby slchub » Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:56 pm

For all of my vision tests as a conductor and engineer (UP and Amtrak) I have only had a color blind test and distance (typical eye chart) test. No depth perception test was given. This is in accordance to 49 CFR 240.121. While the FRA does not require depth perception testing, it would behoove any railroader to have excellent depth perception given many factors working in our environment.

One example is working a rail in a yard where you are traveling forward and the track on the left of you is traveling in the oppose direction and the track to the right of you is traveling at a speed just faster than your speed and you are going to couple into a car in 50'. Another example is coming to a stop at a red signal in a blinding snow storm (had this happen early Friday morning at east Elko yard where the conductor had to line the switch ahead of us just beyond the signal).

I would give great consideration in what you can and cannot perceive if you do have a depth perception issue. You don't want to get you or someone else in trouble as a result of it.

Good luck.

Here is a link to the FRA requirements for visual (medical as well) testing. Your railroad may have stricter standards.

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2009-t ... num240.121
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Re: Depth Perception

Postby drewg350 » Mon Mar 28, 2011 9:02 pm

I just went thru physicals for both Norfolk Southern and CSX in the last 6 weeks and BOTH test for depth perception. They make you look into this white machine, there's a series of white box's with 3-O's and 1-C (it's not actually a "C", more like a 3/4 "O") in each corner of the box. You have to tell them which one is the "C" (really a 3/4 "O"). Each "box" and letters get significantly smaller. Obviously the smaller the box and letters, the harder it is to actually see if that tiny little part of the "O" is there, or if it's missing and actually a "C" (3/4 "O"). They do each eye individually NOT TOGETHER. You must get both eye's individually correct to pass the test. I asked if this was the eye exam and was told both times this is the "depth perception" test. If you have poor depth perception you will not be able to correctly identify or see the difference between the one different "figure". You must get down to at least the number 5 box out of the 10 boxes to pass. It's not real easy. I got to 7 at the CSX exam and actually got all 10 right at the NS exam. The doctor told me 6 is average, 9-10 is very, very, rare. It's a tough test. If you have any eye issue's I'm pretty certain this test will catch them. I applied and was hired as a conductor for both NS and CSX, so I'm not sure about other RR positions, such as trackworker for example.
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Re: Depth Perception

Postby SeaSalt » Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:43 am

Thanks for the useful replies...sounds as if train service crew might not (or might be...) for me, depending on the railroad. Any other info about mechanics, shop helpers, etc having this issue?

BTW I contacted MODOC RR Academy a while back and they stated the RR's don't test for depth perception, seems kinda obvious they either don't know the standards which the RR's hire by (seems odd for such a school) or they could care less about employment opps for grads so long as you've paid your course...
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Re: Depth Perception

Postby SeaSalt » Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:50 am

drewg350 wrote:I just went thru physicals for both Norfolk Southern and CSX in the last 6 weeks and BOTH test for depth perception. They make you look into this white machine, there's a series of white box's with 3-O's and 1-C (it's not actually a "C", more like a 3/4 "O") in each corner of the box. You have to tell them which one is the "C" (really a 3/4 "O"). Each "box" and letters get significantly smaller. Obviously the smaller the box and letters, the harder it is to actually see if that tiny little part of the "O" is there, or if it's missing and actually a "C" (3/4 "O"). They do each eye individually NOT TOGETHER. You must get both eye's individually correct to pass the test. I asked if this was the eye exam and was told both times this is the "depth perception" test. If you have poor depth perception you will not be able to correctly identify or see the difference between the one different "figure". You must get down to at least the number 5 box out of the 10 boxes to pass. It's not real easy. I got to 7 at the CSX exam and actually got all 10 right at the NS exam. The doctor told me 6 is average, 9-10 is very, very, rare. It's a tough test. If you have any eye issue's I'm pretty certain this test will catch them. I applied and was hired as a conductor for both NS and CSX, so I'm not sure about other RR positions, such as trackworker for example.


I had the same exact test for a maritime shipping company once (long time ago now) and that was how I learned and how I "know" my depth perception sucks, I couldn't have passed, but I was still hired (into an entry-level deck job).
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Re: Depth Perception

Postby SeaSalt » Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:14 pm

Just bumping this thread up. Hope somebody else has some info to share...
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Re: Depth Perception

Postby kevin.brackney » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:07 am

I imagine the greatest danger having poor, or questionable depth perception, would be to yourself while climbing on and off equipment; missing a ladder rung or a grab iron could be fatal. But if you're talking about not being able to distinguish whether it's five or six miles....Take the test and see.
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Re: Depth Perception

Postby jr145 » Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:12 pm

Depth perception is huge for T&E, especially when building a train. You need to be able to count down the distance to your engineer.

5 cars to go...... 4 cars...... 3 cars..... etc..

Its hard enough to learn with perfect depth perception.
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Re: Depth Perception

Postby COEN77 » Thu Nov 24, 2011 9:17 am

jr145 wrote:Depth perception is huge for T&E, especially when building a train. You need to be able to count down the distance to your engineer.

5 cars to go...... 4 cars...... 3 cars..... etc..

Its hard enough to learn with perfect depth perception.

You're right about that some people were counting cars in VW "Bug" lenghts. lol. 5 cars....4....3...BAM! lol
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Re: Depth Perception

Postby Jtgshu » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:07 am

COEN77 wrote:
jr145 wrote:Depth perception is huge for T&E, especially when building a train. You need to be able to count down the distance to your engineer.

5 cars to go...... 4 cars...... 3 cars..... etc..

Its hard enough to learn with perfect depth perception.

You're right about that some people were counting cars in VW "Bug" lenghts. lol. 5 cars....4....3...BAM! lol


Or the dreaded "4 cars, 3 cars.....half a car....far enough!!!!" and BAM and the cab doors fly open on the Geep....
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