Saudi Focus

The longest test and certification hyperloop track will be built at KAEC.

The longest test and certification hyperloop track will be built at KAEC.

Hyperloop test track for KAEC

August 2019

Virgin Hyperloop One, claimed to be the only hyperloop company in the world to successfully test its hyperloop technology at scale, has announced a development partnership with 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 centre and hyperloop manufacturing facility north of Jeddah.

The announcement came during a visit by a senior ECA delegation led by secretary-general Mohanud Helal to the Virgin Hyperloop One’s Los Angeles headquarters.

The study will focus on King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), located 100 km north of the Red Sea port of Jeddah. The project, which would include a 35-km test and certification track, will create opportunities for the development of specific hyperloop technologies and develop local expertise in Saudi Arabia which be commercialised and scaled, said Virgin Hyperloop One.

The study will also facilitate the development of localised hyperloop supply chains and the acceleration of innovation clusters across the kingdom.

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

Virgin Hyperloop One CEO Jay Walder said: “With Vision 2030, the kingdom has demonstrated bold leadership to advance game-changing solutions. 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.”

Virgin Hyperloop One’s technology features depressurised tubes that carry on-demand passenger or cargo “pods” at speeds up to 1,080 km per hour. With speeds three times faster than high-speed rail and an on-demand, direct to destination experience, hyperloop technology can reduce journey times across Saudi Arabia.

Travelling from Riyadh to Jeddah would take 76 minutes (currently over 10 hours) utilising the land bridge for both passenger and freight movement, positioning Saudi Arabia as the gateway to three continents. Travelling from Riyadh to Abu Dhabi would take 48 minutes (currently over 8.5 hours), he added.  

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