Virgin Hyperloop One plans to build long-range hyperloop test track in Saudi Arabia


Transportation technology company Virgin Hyperloop One is planning to build a long-range hyperloop test track in Saudi Arabia.

As part of this effort, the firm has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Saudi Arabia’s Economic City Authority (ECA) to undertake a study to build the hyperloop track.

The study will focus on King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), located 100km north of the Red Sea port of Jeddah, as well as evaluate the feasibility of building a 35km-long test and certification track.

Virgin Hyperloop One said that the project will support the development of hyperloop technologies, localized hyperloop supply chains and local expertise in Saudi Arabia.

Virgin Hyperloop One CEO Jay Walder said: “A hyperloop system could help enable Saudi Arabia to become a global transportation powerhouse, nurture the nation’s innovation and entrepreneurial culture, and grow an innovative knowledge workforce.

“I look forward to this collaboration with our visionary partners in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to turn this technology into a mass transportation solution.”

Additionally, Virgin Hyperloop One plans to build research and development centre as well as hyperloop manufacturing facility north of Jeddah, as part of the project.

ECA secretary general Mohanud Helal said: “As we continue to help deliver the strategic pillars of Vision 2030, technology transfer and high-tech job creation opportunities that this relationship will bring are fundamental to our progress as a nation and our efforts to create opportunities for our bright young people.

“Having hyperloop at King Abdullah Economic City is going to act as a catalyst for a Saudi Silicon Valley effect and galvanize our software development, high technology research, and manufacturing industries.”

Virgin Hyperloop One’s technology makes use of depressurised tubes to transport passengers or cargo on specially designed pods at speeds nearly three times faster than existing high-speed rail systems.

Intended to reduce journey time, the hyperloop technology will facilitate connectivity with the member states of the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC).

In 2018, Virgin Hyperloop One has signed an agreement with the Administrator of Railway Infrastructures of Spain to open an Advanced Technology Development and Testing Center with an investment of approximately $500m (£401.6m).

Image: Officials from the Saudi Arabia’s Economic City Authority and Virgin Hyperloop One during MoU signing ceremony. Photo: courtesy of Virgin Hyperloop One.

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