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Mon August 19 2019

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Jeddah plans 35km hyperloop test track

23 Jul Virgin Hyperloop One has struck a deal with the Saudi Arabia’s Economic City Authority for a study to explore building the world’s longest test and certification hyperloop track.

Virgin Hyperloop One's prototype in the Nevada desert
Virgin Hyperloop One's prototype in the Nevada desert

The partnership agreement also includes the construction of a research and development centre and hyperloop manufacturing facility north of Jeddah.

The deal was announced during a visit from a delegation of Saudi Arabia’s Economic City Authority (ECA), led by secretary-general Mohanud Helal.

The study will focus on King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), 100km north of Jeddah. The project includes a 35km test and certification track, creating opportunities for the development of hyperloop technologies in Saudi Arabia that could be commercialised and scaled up.

“Our partnership with Virgin Hyperloop One is a matter of pride for us and all of Saudi Arabia,” said Mohanud Helal. “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,” he added.

Virgin Hyperloop One chief executive 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.”

Virgin Hyperloop One’s technology uses depressurised tubes to carry on-demand passenger or cargo “pods” at speeds up to 1080 km/h (670mph). It would cut the current 10-hour journey time from Riyadh to Jeddah to just 76 minutes.

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