Two of the Seven Women Who Will be Steering Standard Gauge Railway Trains

  • Wendy Kathambi, 26, and 27-year-old Alice Mugure Gitau will be among the first ladies to steer the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) trains once they are officially commissioned in June.

    After completing her procurement course, Alice undertook a Bachelor's degree in Chinese Language and Culture which entailed a six-month session in Kenya and one year in China.

    She was later hired by a Chinese firm as a translator at the Railway Training Institute (RTI).

    It was while there that she learnt of the SGR training programme and enrolled for the course.

    "We were seven students in our class and were taken through many lessons, including light diesel locomotive maintenance," Alice said during an interview with a local media house.

    She sought to dispel the notion that some jobs are meant for men saying women could drive trains, just the same way men do.

    "We were all born with capacities to perform all duties. I believe I can achieve anything is set my mind on," she reiterated.

    Wendy, on the other hand, holds a diploma in Electrical Engineering and when the SGR training programme started, she opted for it.

    "This is what gives me satisfaction after developing interest in new technology as far as railway development is concerned. It is a pretty new field and Kenya does not have adequate manpower to drive the rail transport," she stated.

    The two were part of the team that took part in the inaugural test-drive in March, which saw them drive passenger trains at the speed of 105 kilometres per hour.

    The train travelled from Nairobi South Passenger station to Sultan Hamud and back.

    At least seven women are expected to drive the new Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) trains after completing their course in China.

    They are part of a group of Kenyan students the China Road & Bridges Corporation (CRBC), the SGR contractor, sponsored to undertake a railway course at China's Baoji Railway Technical College.

    Here are the two young women:

    [caption caption="Wendy Kathambi and Alice Mugure Gitau"] [/caption]