Renfe trains the first Saudi female drivers

Renfe trains the first Saudi female drivers

31 Saudi Arabian women aspiring to be high-speed train drivers passed the first training phase. In December they will become the first women in the country's history to work as train drivers.

The 31 Saudi women aspiring to be high-speed train drivers have now finished the first phase of the theoretical training and have started their practical training in the cabin. In this second phase, which will last between five and six months, the student will travel on board commercial trains and drive under the supervision of Renfe train instructors. It is expected that they will start driving alone on the Haramain high-speed train which links the cities of Mecca and Medina in mid-December.

The training of these women is part of the Haramain High-Speed Railway project seeking to break the taboos that train driving has been viewed as a masculine career profession. 

Theoretical training started in March. During the 483 classes, the women gained basic knowledge about railways, traffic and safety regulations, occupational hazards, fire protection systems, and technical aspects related to trains and infrastructure. There will be 674 hours in the practical part for a total of 1,157 training hours.

The first phase of the training was completed by 31 of the 34 women who joined the project. The average age of the aspirants is 26 years and 7 out of 10 have a university degree. Six of the women were already employees of Renfe KSA (the Saudi branch of the company).

The announcement of this project had an enormous impact on Saudi society. More than 28,000 women registered for the selection tests, of which approximately half took the exams in person. Of these, 145 were selected for the next stage of personal interviews.

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