Medical Standards and Fitness for Train Drivers.
After you have had an Assessment the next stage to becoming a Train
Driver is to go for a Medical.
These are usually carried out by a private Occupational Health Physician for
a company such as BUPA. All Train Drivers must meet laid down standards
for fitness and meet hearing and visual standards. The following page is
given as guidance only (some TOC's have even stricter standards!) and if
you have any doubts you should go to your Doctor or Optician and get
The first thing you'll do is an eye test. If you wear glasses take them with you
- contact lenses are not allowed. The required standard is 6/9, 6/12 distant
vision and N8 near vision or better if you wear glasses. If you do wear
spectacles your unaided vision must not be worse than 6/12, 6/18. This
standard may be varied, yet uncorrected vision must not be below 3/60 in
As we've mentioned, contact lenses are not permitted and if you've had laser
eye surgery to correct vision, that rules you out for driving trains too.
The next stage is to test your colour vision, this is done using the Ishihara
Plates Test. It's always a good idea to visit your optician regularly and get
your eyesight tested.
You'll be sat in a small sound-proof cubicle with a pair of headphones on and
they'll play really quiet 'beeps' of varying frequencies. You are not allowed to
wear a hearing aid. The standard is, hearing loss must not exceed 30dB
averaged over frequencies of 0.5, 1 and 2kHz and you shouldn't suffer from
any condition that will cause unpredictable fluctuations in hearing levels. If
you've been at the 'front row' of any Motorhead concerts lately....!
The chances are that you'll get hooked up to an ECG machine where they'll
stick loads of little patches over your body and wire you in to measure your
heart. You'll look like something out of 'Casualty' but they don't give you a
You must not be suffering or receiving any medical treatment that will cause
sudden loss of consciousness, sudden incapacity, impairment of balance,
co-ordination, awareness or concentration. Visual impairment or a
significant loss of mobility. There are also height and weight restrictions that
apply, normally between 5'4" and 6'4' and your weight shouldn't exceed 28
on the Body Mass Index (BMI) when entering service.
Drug and Alcohol Test:
Finally you'll be asked to piss in a plastic beaker!
If you are taking ANY medication, even hayfever remedies or cough
medicine take it along with you in the original packaging. This is a a normal
part of railway life when working in 'Safety Critical' jobs and you will be
randomly screened throughout your career. All Railway companies have a
'Drugs and Alcohol Policy'.
There are very strict guidelines on how these samples are taken and stored
(known as a 'Chain of Custody') to make sure the samples don't get mixed
up! The Tests are very accurate and measure illegal drugs, perscription
medicines and alcohol. The company will normally get the results within 2
days. If you test positive for illegal drugs or alcohol you won't be employed.
However, 'positive' samples are kept for a period of time and you have the
right to have them re-tested (at your own expense) if you believe that the
'positive' result is in error.
The next stage:
You''ll normally get a letter or a phone call from your company within a few
days of them getting the results of your medical. If everything's O.K, they'll
offer you a job! You'll get contacts for you to sign and a possible start
So, you've passed the Assessment, passed the
Medical, you've been offered a job......what happens
next? Go to 'Training' to find out more......