Concilia Owire, 27

Locomotive Driver

My Story

Concilia was the first woman to drive the Standard Gauge Rail (SGR) train from Nairobi to Mombasa when it launched in 2017.

Her life changed when she was selected, among seven young women, to do a railway course at China’s Baoji Railway Technical College.

She had finished a Diploma course in Locomotive and Rolling Stock Engineering at the Railway Training Institute in Nairobi, and a Diploma in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the Institute of Energy Research Studies.

“The training that was sponsored by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) took us to China in 2017. I had to come back because Kenya was launching the Mombasa–Nairobi SGR passenger train services in June 2017.”

"When we are driving let’s say from Nairobi to Mombasa, I only do half the journey. My co-driver then completes the rest of the journey. You must be alert when driving to avoid accidents."

Concilia says that it was an honour to be selected to be the main driver of the inaugural train ferrying high-profile government officials, including President Uhuru Kenyatta.

She says to drive a passenger train, one must be in a position to drive a cargo train first. Driving a cargo train gives the driver an opportunity to master the terrain, smoothness of the railway line among other aspects.

The train, she says, is normally driven by two drivers on a route.

“When we are driving let’s say from Nairobi to Mombasa, I only do half the journey. My co-driver then completes the rest of the journey. You must be alert when driving to avoid accidents,” says Concilia who drives both the passenger and cargo trains.

-Bonface Otieno