Saudi Arabia Plans the World’s First Long-Range Hyperloop Test Track

Virgin Hyperloop One have announced a development partnership with the Saudi Arabia’s Economic City Authority (ECA) to conduct a study to build the world’s longest test and certification hyperloop track, as well as a research and development center and hyperloop manufacturing facility north of Jeddah.

View from inside the large steel tube of the black Hyperloop test pod at the entrance
Virgin Hyperloop One test pod

The study will focus on King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), located 100 kilometres north of the Red Sea port of Jeddah, and is centered around a 35-kilometre test and certification track.

Elon Musk’s original Hyperloop white paper was published in 2103 as an open-source proposal, allowing companies, research teams and amateur groups to independently develop their own versions. Virgin Hyperloop One is currently the leading¹ commercial developer having already successfully tested its hyperloop technology at full scale in Nevada.

Aerial view of a long white tube on flat green scrubland with mountains in the background
Virgin Hyperloop One Nevada test track

Virgin Hyperloop One’s technology features depressurized tubes that carry electromagnetically levitated (MagLev) passenger or cargo “pods” at speeds potentially up to 1080 kilometres per hour.

With speeds three times faster than high-speed rail and an on-demand, direct to destination experience, hyperloop technology could drastically reduce journey times across Saudi Arabia and the neighbouring Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) states – Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Oman.

Traveling from Riyadh to Jeddah could take 76 minutes (currently over 10 hours). Travelling from Riyadh to Abu Dhabi could take 48 minutes (currently over 8.5 hours).

¹ Virgin Hyperloop One’s nearest competitor is probably Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) in Toulouse, France.

Images: Virgin Hyperloop One

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