Saudi women to drive trains between Makkah and Madinah

Women will soon drive bullet trains between the two cities at the heart of Muslim pilgrimage

A Haramain speed train at King Abdullah Economic City, near Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Reuters
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Saudi women will soon drive Haramain trains between the two holy cities of Islam, Makkah and Madinah, and take on other jobs in the transport sector.

Saleh Al Jasser, Minister of Transport and Logistics, said the country is working towards localising jobs, which includes women, in every sector, including transport.

Thirty-one Saudi women completed their first phase of training last month, which began in March this year. The trainees completed a total of 483 hours of training in theory, general knowledge, work hazards, fire outbreak, traffic and safety regulations, and other technical aspects pertaining to train and railway infrastructure.

The women will drive the bullet trains between the cities of Makkah and Madinah after a year of paid training.

A job advert that went up in February to recruit female train drivers in Saudi Arabia attracted 28,000 applicants, showing the scale of pent-up demand as the kingdom opens up more opportunities to women.

Mr Al Jasser said women in the workforce is integral to the country and that in the coming months, highly trained and qualified Saudi women will be leading trains of the two holy mosques.

The contribution of the female workforce is developing significantly, and women will be seen working in many jobs in the near future, the minister said.

The development of the transport sector also helps to empower other sectors by increasing efficiency to serve the industry, including tourism, Hajj and Umrah, and other partner companies.

Eighteen other jobs in the transport sector will be localised during the next year.

The transport sector is working to increase the proportion of Saudis in the labour market, including localising all pilot positions, the minister said, and that jobs such as air controller, and co-pilot have been localised.

Renfe, the Spanish company managing the high-speed rail, and the Saudi Railway Politechnic are training Saudi women and have so far trained more than 130 Saudi citizens over the past nine years.

Updated: September 07, 2022, 10:10 AM
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