World's longest hyperloop track in the works for Saudi Arabia
Virgin Hyperloop One has expanded its relationship with Saudi Arabia, with the two announcing plans to develop a new test track in the country's west. The facility would become the world's longest Hyperloop tube, and would be used to test out the technology as the gulf nation eyes a wider rollout of the futuristic transport system.
A fully-developed hyperloop system would shuttle people and cargo through near-vacuum tubes at close to the speed of sound. Virgin Hyperloop One is just one of the parties tinkering away on this technology, with a 500-meter (1,600-ft) test track already up and running in California where it has propeled its full-scale test pods to speeds of 240 mph (387 km/h).
But at 35 km (21.7 mi) long, the track planned for King Abdullah Economic City to the north of Jeddah would allow much more room to move. In addition to the test track, the facility would also house a research and manufacturing facility, in the hope that it can foster some kind of "Silicon Valley effect" in the region.
"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," said Secretary General Mohanud A. Helal.
It should be noted that all of this is a long way off. Saudi Arabia and Virgin Hyperloop One will first carry out a study investigating the feasibility and impact of the facility. The company has similar agreements in place with governments in Spain and India, and has also proposed a hyperloop system for the US state of Missouri.
When it comes to the Middle East, Virgin Hyperloop One has previously outlined plans for a network connecting large urban centers including Kuwait City, Jedda and Muscat in Oman. It says a hyperloop system for Saudi Arabia could cut the 10-hour-plus trip between Riyadh and Jedda to just 76 minutes.
Source: Virgin Hyperloop One