Colour Blindness as a Guard/Driver

BeepBopSkdoo

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I’ve been in interested in a career in the rail industry (onboard trains rather than engineering) for quite a while, but being colour-blind has kind of removed all potential of becoming a guard/driver/dispatcher for obvious reasons. Is there any possibility that railwaymen/women using colour blind glasses or other such things will be allowed to work on the railway in the future? I was chatting to a driver the other day who rightfully pointed out that only a few decades ago, you couldn’t drive trains even with normal glasses. What are people’s thoughts?
 
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Lewlew

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With the rise of in cab signalling and the removal of colour light signals then it’s definitely possible in the near future.

There is currently at least one colour blind driver on the Jubilee line on the tube. There was a trial with one driver a few years back. No idea if anyone else has since started over there.
 

L401CJF

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If you are looking for an onboard role which isnt safety critical perhaps an onboard customer host - catering or similar- would be a good place to start. Its a foot in the door and could well lead introduce you to other opportunities in the future (again not safety critical for the timebeing at least)
 

Bayum

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I’m in a similar situation to you but on the meds side. Hoping there will come a time that certain meds won’t be an issue anymore if you can price they don’t impact your ability. We shall see!
 

Randomer

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I can definitely see it taking an approach similar to how pilots are assessed by the Civil Aviation Authority, it seems to be a matter of no-one wanting to drive a change through when sufficient numbers of people interested in the role exist . CAA only use the Ishihara test as a screening exam, which was its original intent, and not as a final arbiter as to whether your colour vision is suitable for the role in question. I do wonder if someone could successfully make out a case that each role should have an assessed level of colour deficiency using something like the Colour Assessment and Diagnosis test for it rather than a blanket rule.

An argument could easily be made that some levels of colour deficiency have absolutely no impact on safety critical roles. Indeed there are commercial airline pilots flying now who would fail the railway standards but pass the CAA ones and who have the same requirement to see red and green colours (in aircraft position lights and runway markers).

The CAA Rationale for changing colour vision requirements are very interesting. However, unless forced to, I can't see the Office for Road and Rail paying for the number of studies the CAA have undertaken to define what each role requires.
 

ComUtoR

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it seems to be a matter of no-one wanting to drive a change through when sufficient numbers of people interested in the role exist

This is not true. Change is wanted and has been asked for.

However, unless forced to, I can't see the Office for Road and Rail paying for the number of studies the CAA have undertaken to define what each role requires.
The RSSB has a large number of studies and research projects that are able to be viewed if you have a suitable login/membership.

Colour vision testing : https://www.rssb.co.uk/research-catalogue/CatalogueItem/S352
 

Randomer

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The RSSB has a large number of studies and research projects that are able to be viewed if you have a suitable login/membership.

Colour vision testing : https://www.rssb.co.uk/research-catalogue/CatalogueItem/S352

I can't seem to get an individual registration to RSSB to work but does it quantify what level of deficiency might be appropriate or talk about what testing method could be used to find the acceptable level of deficiency decided on?

Perhaps to be a bit clearer than I was originally the CAA spent time and money establishing a single standard for all pilots in the UK along with methods that testing from other aviation authorities could be equated to that. However, that was only for effectively a single role with the approximate equivalency to that of a driver. The requirement to see and interpret coloured light signals could be argued to be different between driver, guard and dispatcher (i.e. stationary in a platform and not at line speed so speed of interpretation is different or arguably only needing to see that the signal is showing a proceed aspect so less requirement to see the red part of the spectrum etc.) Each role should arguably have a level of deficiency allowable along with a rationale for why that is the case, this is the time and research cost that I was referring to.

Now it would be relatively easy to establish a new single standard as exists currently but would it actually be a change to the current situation or just a new blanket standard with a different testing rationale?

I completely get your point that some people want and indeed have requested change but maybe I'm too cynical that absent the commercial pressure from training providers, who make money training private and commercial pilots, that drove the CAA to change I can't see ORR wanting to.
 

Efini92

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This is not true. Change is wanted and has been asked for.


The RSSB has a large number of studies and research projects that are able to be viewed if you have a suitable login/membership.

Colour vision testing : https://www.rssb.co.uk/research-catalogue/CatalogueItem/S352
They gave dispensation to a Leeds driver a number of years ago. However he was already a qualified driver and had past the test that they used before the Ishihara.
 

skyhigh

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I’m in a similar situation to you but on the meds side. Hoping there will come a time that certain meds won’t be an issue anymore if you can price they don’t impact your ability. We shall see!
It very much depends on personal situation - I don't think there are many medications which are an automatic fail for the medical standard (particularly when you've been on them long-term), but you'd need to double check with someone who is qualified to give a definitive answer. If you apply to a suitable vacancy and email the TOC to check if medications are an issue that may be a way of getting a heads up on possible medical outcomes before getting too far in.
 

Bayum

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It very much depends on personal situation - I don't think there are many medications which are an automatic fail for the medical standard (particularly when you've been on them long-term), but you'd need to double check with someone who is qualified to give a definitive answer. If you apply to a suitable vacancy and email the TOC to check if medications are an issue that may be a way of getting a heads up on possible medical outcomes before getting too far in.
Yeah, most of everything I take is either controlled or falls into the category of ‘common side effects include’ type things; ‘reduction of attention/concentration’ and ‘a loss of balance or coordination’.
 

ComUtoR

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I can't seem to get an individual registration to RSSB to work

It usually requires a Railway email address. Some people were able to register before the change.


but does or talk about what testing method could be used to find the acceptable level of deficiency decided on?

Yes.


Now it would be relatively easy to establish a new single standard as exists currently but would it actually be a change to the current situation or just a new blanket standard with a different testing rationale?

It's never 'Easy' I think from outside looking in this always appear to be 'easy' but from a technical standpoint it really isn't.


I completely get your point that some people want and indeed have requested change but maybe I'm too cynical that absent the commercial pressure from training providers, who make money training private and commercial pilots, that drove the CAA to change I can't see ORR wanting to.

Commercial pressure and the cost will always be there. It cannot be avoided. From the document I linked it does state that the industry does have a responsibility for disability awareness but the cost involved doesn't meet the reasonable adjustment test. The financial pressure is huge and have to absorbed somewhere. Do you pass that on to the applicant or to the employer ? The aviation industry is notorious in that the costs are on the applicant. I'm not sure that is something I'd want for the railway.

Change will come, it just takes a lot of time and effort.
 

BeepBopSkdoo

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With the rise of in cab signalling and the removal of colour light signals then it’s definitely possible in the near future.

There is currently at least one colour blind driver on the Jubilee line on the tube. There was a trial with one driver a few years back. No idea if anyone else has since started over there.
I wonder if being a colour-blind driver on a route like HS1 would be possible if they remove the last vestiges of colour light signals around STP and Ashford
 

ComUtoR

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I wonder if being a colour-blind driver on a route like HS1 would be possible if they remove the last vestiges of colour light signals around STP and Ashford

TVM Block markers are Blue/Yellow so there would still be potential problems. As well as Gravesend and other locations where HS1 meets NR metals
 

43066

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With the rise of in cab signalling and the removal of colour light signals then it’s definitely possible in the near future.

Looking at timescales for NR doing this, we are talking several decades (and it keeps slipping), so I’d say the *far* future more realistically.

LU is different of course.
 

RegularService

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TVM Block markers are Blue/Yellow so there would still be potential problems. As well as Gravesend and other locations where HS1 meets NR metals
That isn't an issue because those marker boards are not safety-critical. All those markers indicate is the located at the locations that may be used for End of Authority in ETCS L2 or L3, to improve driver awareness.

At the same time, the standard speed display uses colour to indicate overspeed and brake intervention, which may be a problem.

(I assume you are referring to the markers on lines with ETCS L2, where the front of the block is moving, and the rear is fixed)
 
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TreacleMiller

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By the time legislation and infrastructure has caught up, we will be so close to automation that special considerations such as colour blindness won't even be on the radar let alone to do list.
 

ComUtoR

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By the time legislation and infrastructure has caught up, we will be so close to automation that special considerations such as colour blindness won't even be on the radar let alone to do list.

What about all those in-cab buttons that are red/blue/yellow and the odd Green one ?
 

ComUtoR

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There won't be a driver?

We are only just touching Level 2 and that still needs a Driver. Even Level 3 still has someone capable of driving the train onboard.

Network wide L3 is a good 100 years away. There will most likely be more Level 2 automation but even network wide L2 is still a solid 50 years away.
 

Horizon22

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Whilst interesting, the discussion about train automation are somewhat off-topic. If you wish to continue, please do so in a new thread.
 

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