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Railroaders' Nostalgia > 20/20 vision, uncorrected, requirement?


Date: 01/27/17 13:52
20/20 vision, uncorrected, requirement?
Author: TexBob

Was 20/20 vision, uncorrected, a prequisite to train service employment in years past?

If so, when did the requirement change and what prompted the change?

Thanks!

Robert Pierce
Sugar Land, TX
SWRails.com



Date: 01/27/17 14:26
Re: 20/20 vision, uncorrected, requirement?
Author: LocoPilot750

In 1978 I tried to transferred to the operating department as a Fireman. It was still Santa Fe then.  I decided to give it a try, since they had just relaxed the eye sight requirements to 20/50 uncorrected, and there were no more back x-rays. But, I had 20/200 vision, not even close, so I flunked my first physical. Chief clerk at Newton told me to just wait, he would apply to the top medical officer in Chicago for a waiver. A couple of months later, when I thought it was no longer going to happen, he called my foreman one day while I was at work at the Topeka Rip track, and told me to be in Newton the next morning to fill out my paperwork, he had the waiver. I drove back out there, took another physical (without another eye test) got all my books & a watch card, drove back over to Emporia, and checked in with the Road Foreman. He put me on the 188 that afternoon for my first student trip to Wellington.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/27/17 16:47 by LocoPilot750.



Date: 01/27/17 15:35
Re: 20/20 vision, uncorrected, requirement?
Author: LarryDoyle

Prior to FRA standardization, it was up to the individual RR.

When I hired out on my first RR job with the "Q" in 1962, I believe the requirement was not 20/20, but rather was "2".  That is, you had to have two eyes that worked, at least sort of.

OTOH, a friend who tried to hire out on the neighboring GN about the same time was rejected 'cause he wore glasses.  The ability to function with correction didn't seem to apply on the GN. 

Visual aquity was, seemingly, not as significant as the possibility of colorblindness.  THAT was important.  Makes sense - If you couldn't tell red from yellow or green - you might have  a problem.  That still makes sense. 

Once hired, at least in my timeframe reference, it seemed to be up to the employee to advise the employer whether he (she?  There were no she's on the RR in 1961) was able to continue to function safely with diminished aquity.  I've read several accounts of firemen who would have to call attention to his engineer of a restriction because the engineer had diminished visual functionality.

So, to make a long story short, sometime after the mid-60's.

-LD



Date: 01/27/17 15:56
Re: 20/20 vision, uncorrected, requirement?
Author: E25

I liked your story, LocoPilot750.

As a kid, I wanted to become an airline pilot and "travel the world."   Unfortunately, I had (correctable) astigmatism in both eyes, so I couldn't pass muster.  So I became an attorney instead... LOL

-- Greg

 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/27/17 16:00 by E25.



Date: 01/27/17 16:48
Re: 20/20 vision, uncorrected, requirement?
Author: mapboy

I tried to get into train service after high school, and I knew about the vision test.  For years, all I could read was the top line of the eye chart without my glasses.  So I memorized the eye chart, but when I got in there, it was a completely different eye chart.  End of test.

mapboy



Date: 01/28/17 10:09
Re: 20/20 vision, uncorrected, requirement?
Author: mopacrr

I attempted to hire out on the Santa Fe at Newton in Jan,70,but I failed the color blindness test,which was  charts that had circles of various shades of grey blue and that looked different in various shades of light.  I tried again at Argentine in Oct, 72 for engine service ,but failed that test too.  When I went to work for the Mop in December of 72, they had the same color blindness test that the Santa Fe had,except this time I had seen the chart enough times, I had it memorized.  The nurse that gave me the test told me all the Mop required was that a person could see red ,green,yellow an white. and it seems at the time a 20x50 vision was required,but as desperate as they were for people then; that requirement was probably waved many times.



Date: 01/29/17 16:09
Re: 20/20 vision, uncorrected, requirement?
Author: starsandbars

UP had a 20/20 rule until 1973 when it was decided why can a engineer have glasses but not a person going into the ranks 



Date: 01/30/17 10:02
Re: 20/20 vision, uncorrected, requirement?
Author: Earlk

It obviously different from Road to Road.  A lot of old hoggers on the D&RGW narrow gauge wore specs.  My friend, retired engineer Eldon Morgan hired on in 1946, right after he got back from the War.  He wore glasses since he was 12.  He said he had one vision test and one color test in his entire carrier.  The vision test was "look the window and tell me what the number is on that locomotive out there".  Followed by "see that boxcar over on the RIP track with the new paint?  What color is it?"  "Good, you passed.  Your called for a student trip to Chama at 1045 tonight, get some rest"....... "Thank you sir, one question....where is Chama?"      "You'll find out when you get there, sonny". 



Date: 01/30/17 21:28
Re: 20/20 vision, uncorrected, requirement?
Author: rabidcats

When I hired out as a switchman at Santa Fe in 1966 they had a "no glasses" policy.  Afterward you could wear them if needed.  About mid-1969 I was surprised to see a new hire with glasses; he said "No problem" - apparently the policy had changed.  Again, in '66 Southern Pacific would hire new T&E with glasses.  Both roads did low back x-rays to see if you already had a problem or MIGHT SOMEDAY have a back problem.  Santa Fe was far less strict about back x-rays than SP - at least in Los Angeles.  SP took two views, lying on your back and on your side.  Santa Fe (as I recall) took six views: lying on side, on stomach, right side, left side, right oblique and left oblique.  The Trainmaster's Clerk gave each of us applicants two pieces of paper: one was an order for a physical at Santa Fe's 6th and Main building; the other was for a Lumbar-Sacral back x-ray at the old Santa Fe hospital.  The SP physical was mostly see if you were still breathing.  The Santa Fe doctor was much more thorough although they were the ones who hired me.  In later years, I, like so many others, would choose take periodic physicals (every two years at Santa Fe) from one of the Local Surgeons who didn't do much of an exam, blood pressure, eye chart and a nice visit for fifteen minutes or so.   



Date: 01/31/17 22:00
Re: 20/20 vision, uncorrected, requirement?
Author: wabash2800

Same thing with me (but no astigmatism). As a kid, my dad had told me the only way I would become an airline pilot would be after flying with the Air Force and it wouldn't take me with corrected vision. With seven years of college, years later, I suppose I could have just majored in aeronautical engineering and taken flight lessons. A friend of mine flies a private jet and also works part-time for a shortline railroad as a signal maintainer. He and I can talk shop all day long and he is helping me wire the signaling on my model railroad like the real thing including working interlockings and semaphores.

Victor A. Baird
http://www.erstwhilepublications.com

E25 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I liked your story, LocoPilot750.
>
> As a kid, I wanted to become an airline pilot and
> "travel the world."   Unfortunately, I had
> (correctable) astigmatism in both eyes, so I
> couldn't pass muster.  So I became an attorney
> instead... LOL
>
> -- Greg
>
>  



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 02/04/17 14:36 by wabash2800.



Date: 02/08/17 20:22
Re: 20/20 vision, uncorrected, requirement?
Author: 567Chant

mapboy Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I tried to get into train service ... I memorized the
> eye chart, but when I got in there, it was a
> completely different eye chart.  End of test.
----------------------------
I am reminded of Donald Sutherland's character in 'Space Cowboys'"I may be blind Frank, but my memory is perfect..."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dh__Anjhn6M
...Lorenzo



Date: 02/21/17 10:48
Re: 20/20 vision, uncorrected, requirement?
Author: Frisco1522

I tried to hire out firing on the Frisco in 1958, but got shot down by the old glasses thing.  I think I would have gotten hired as a switchman.  Tried the Missouri Pacific too, same thing.  Wanted to follow in Dad's footsteps on the Frisco.  Ended up in the machine tool industry, entry level to Tool and Die Maker and into management.
I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express and was also one of the three engineers on Frisco 1522 for eighteen years.  Ran a lot on my Dad's old division, St. Louis-Newburg.



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