People are seen inside the Haramain speed train in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia September 18, 2018. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: A total of 31 Saudi women have completed their training to drive high-speed trains in Saudi Arabia, after passing the first stage of the theoretical training that began last January, local media reported.

The trainees have begun the second phase, which will last around five months. They will attend the practical training in the cockpit in the presence of professional drivers.

The training programme is expected to end in December, after which the Saudi female drivers will begin operating trains between Saudi cities.

The trainees have passed many theoretical tests, including tests for traffic and safety systems, work hazards, firefighting, technical aspects related to train infrastructure.

In the coming stages, the number of Saudi men and women drivers will increase, and it is expected that the demand will grow significantly during the next few years for travel by train, especially during the Hajj and Umrah seasons.

The selected women will drive bullet trains between the cities of Mecca and Medina after a year of paid training.

Female participation in the workforce has nearly doubled in the last five years to 33 per cent amid a drive by the Saudi crown price to open up the Kingdom and diversify the economy, and women are now taking up jobs once restricted to men and migrant workers.