RIYADH: Saudi women could soon be driving the Kingdom’s Haramain express train, the high-speed service that links the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, and is expected to carry up to 60 million passengers a year.

The Saudi Railway Polytechnic announced on Sunday that it has opened registration for Saudi women to train in the Haramain Express Train Leaders program.

Female graduates will work together with male counterparts who have graduated from previous programs.

Registration for the program, which lasts for a year and ensures a position with Renfe KSA — one of the companies operating the high-speed train project — is open until Jan. 13 through the polytechnic’s website.

Abdul Aziz Al-Sugair, SRP general manager, said the training program will begin on Feb. 15 in Jeddah, and includes practical training at work sites linked to the rail project.

Saudi women will help meet the need for more qualified drivers following high demand for the Haramain service, he added.

Trainees will receives a monthly SR4,000 ($1,065) bonus during the training period, and will be registered in the social insurance scheme as an employee under training. After graduating, women will receive a monthly salary of up to SR8,000.

“The daughters of the homeland constitute an important component of the fabric of young national talents worthy of localization, as they will contribute to the advancement of the railway industry and its sustainability. Their excellence will also contribute to raising efficiency and quality of services, and achieving the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 by transforming Saudi Arabia into a global logistical center,” Al-Sugair said.

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