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Western Railroad Discussion > BNSF strength test

Date: 12/02/05 11:25
BNSF strength test
Author: bnsfjordan

I'm scheduled to take a strength test for the BNSF next week. I'm not overly strong, and am probably about average strengthwise. For the past few days I've been working out like crazy. Can anybody here who's taken the test tell me what it's like?

Date: 12/02/05 12:58
Re: BNSF strength test
Author: Nbetween

Its been almost 6 years since ive taken it but , They test your knee's by having you do leg lift's and see if and where you buckle. That was the one test that I remember. It isnt that bad. Dont over work out yourself , If you can do your Basic Squat , Leg lift (Front and Back) I think they have you lift a Dumbell (No not a friend you know) straight out in front of you.

Lets just put it this way , Ive seen people of ALL sizes pass this test as well as of the opposite Sex. Just watch the Movie Waterboy , " You can do it ".

Date: 12/02/05 13:14
Re: BNSF strength test
Author: Challenger3985

What about pushups and pullups, etc.?


Date: 12/02/05 13:42
Re: BNSF strength test
Author: tolland

UP has you do situps. BNSF doesn't do that, instead they put you on a machine and have you do leg lifts and arm lifts with preset amounts of weight. Don't stress over it, if you're reasonably fit you'll pass that test.

Jim Burrill

Date: 12/02/05 14:55
Re: Railroad strength tests
Author: chilli

If you've been around the railroad enough as a railfan, then you probably have seen many, many trainmen and enginemen. Reach your own conclusion about being "physically fit."

As for dispatchers being physically fit, I can guarantee you'll never find a room corner full of broken desk chairs that is any fuller than a corner(s) at the local dispatching center.

Date: 12/02/05 16:42
Re: Railroad strength tests
Author: CCMF

Something about hiking in Wyoming that keeps even the most senior guys out there in shape. :)

Date: 12/02/05 16:54
Re: Railroad strength tests
Author: CPRR

I would think that having one put on a harness, walk out to the yard, hook up to an flat, and see how far you can go with it. If you go far, then you are hired as the new ecological, non polluting switcher......

Date: 12/02/05 17:22
Re: Railroad strength tests
Author: chilli

<<Ah, but employees that hired out before the stress tests were introduced did not and do not have to take it. So looking at current employees with more than just several years of seniority proves nothing ;-) >>

It was a joke.

You don't get fat, tired, greasy and messy until AFTER you've worked for the railroad!

Date: 12/02/05 17:51
Author: MTMEngineer

The strength test is a farce.

I won't speak specifically to any particular railroad, as you'll see from my comments below, but I truly believe the first paragraph of this post.

The strength test is one of the ways used to officially "filter" those whom the railroad really wants to hire (those that they believe will survive) from those that they do not want to hire based upon other "unofficial" reasons (you might even interpret that to mean "it's against the law to not hire you for the real reason").

Your "interview" (a one-on-one conversation with an HR representative and the Trainmaster or Yardmaster who has positions to fill) is 90%+ of the job search process.

No, 95%.

No, 99%.

No, more than that.

I went in for such a "physical" and interview with one of the class ones within the past couple of years. No one was allowed to know the test results of competing candidates. I've had experience as a TY&E employee, but when the 21st Century physical tests were described, I knew I was in trouble. I was competing against guys that could have played for the Green Bay Packers.

But those guys "failed", and were sent home without benefit of an interview.

My actual readings on leg lifts, sit ups, and dumbells was clearly below their stated "standard". But only I, and the personnel people knew that.

During the interview I talked about my experience. Not about railfanning, but specific answers to their questions about how to handle yourself in real railroad situations.

Two weeks later, they called and offered me a TY&E postition.

My best advice:

1) Study Code. Understand it's logic.

2) Don't sweat the physical. From my experience, if you have the correct number of eyes (which they don't ask you), and can convince them that you're warm and that you can differentiate colors with the eyes you do have, you can get by the physical.

3) Study Code. Not to just parrot the wording, but understand the history of why rules were written and the mindset behind its meaning.

4) THINK railroader. This is the tough one. Get thru the interview getting them to believe that you have the Moxie to stay alive on the job, and not cost them a FELA claim. But NEVER use those words.

4) Study Code. Nothing in railroading is like anything else.

5) The interview is critical. Make them belive that you will be a better employee than anyone who hasn't already been sent home.

6) Study Code.

7) Study Code.

BTW, when they called, I turned down their offer.

Date: 12/02/05 19:02
Author: bnsfjordan

I've already passed the interview. The strength test is the last obstacle remaining for me. One thing I have heard about the test is that each apendage it tested seperately. I am right-handed, and my left side is much weaker than my right side, so that is the main thing that worries me.

Date: 12/02/05 19:25
Re: BNSF strength test
Author: Anvilhead

Stop worrying. You're not hiring out as a locomotive. You're not going to go 15 rounds with Mike Tyson. The road I worked for didn't even require physicals after they hired you. That's how silly this whole thing has gotten.

And after you do pass your test (which you will)take a look at some of the specimens that hired out before you. Some can't go 50 feet without stopping to rest.

And don't get me started on what's (or rather what's not) between the ears of a quite a few..........you'll see for yourself.

Good luck.

Date: 12/02/05 21:27
Re: BNSF strength test
Author: Nbetween

I dont know about CODE , Hiking in Montana , or Playing for the Green Bay Packers but I do Know and you guys can attest , " YOU CAN DO IT "

Date: 12/02/05 22:16
You Can Do It
Author: Michael_SD40-2

Nobody has to be superman/woman. If you are able bodied then you'll do fine. When I did it almost 8 years ago, it consisted of the "duckwalk" which is walking while squatting down, they check your peripheral vision and check your reflexes with that tool they tap your knee and arm with among other basic tests. Actually, it was no different than the physical exam I took when I entered the military, if that helps. A majority of railroaders tend to "bulk up" after hiring out because one of the few things to do to keep occupied on a train is to EAT and being sedentary doesn't burn many calories.

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