Trailblazing group of Saudi women begin train driver training
A group of 30 Saudi women striving to become Saudi Arabia’s first female train drivers began their training on Sunday at the Renfe-staffed Line Operations Center (OCC) in Jeddah. The selection proces drew huge attention earlier this year, with some 28,000 women signing up for the 30 available positions.
The women are training and studying to become train operators on the Haramain high-speed train, which runs between the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Of the 28,000 applicants, more than 14,000 passed the pre-employment aptitude test.
The group selected will be taking part in a year-long, all paid-for training programme. The programme is split into theoretical training and actual trial runs on the high-speed line. Spanish railway company Renfe and the Saudi Railway Politechnic (SRP) are responsible for the training effort and together have trained more than 130 Saudi nationals over the past nine years.
The 450-kilometre Haramain high-speed train is operated by a Saudi-Spanish consortium that in addition to Renfe and the Saudi Railway Company also includes Adif, Ineco and Talgo, among others.