Hyperloop Test Track Planned in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi government is investigating the feasibility of building a Hyperloop test track at the King Abdullah Economic City to the north of Jeddah.

If built, the track could be 35 kilometers (2.7 miles) long, New Atlas speculates. That could be the longest Hyperloop test track in the world. In addition, the New Economic City could house Hyperloop manufacturing and research and development facilities.

Current plans call for Virgin Hyperloop One to build and operate the track. In addition, Hyperloop One has plans to build Hyperloop lines between Kuwait City, Ridayah, Jedda, and Muscat in Oman.

Hyperloop to the Hajj?

Saudi Arabia needs fast large-scale people movers because 2.372 million Moslem pilgrims visited the country for the Hajj in 2018, the Saudi government estimates. To explain, a Hyperloop could theoretically move millions of pilgrims to Mecca for the Hajj from airports all over the country.

The Saudis hope the King Abdullah New Economic City could become their nation’s Silicon Valley or Shenzen. The hope is that research and development could foster tech industries that could provide Saudi Arabia with income sources other than oil.  

Notably, Saudi Crow Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the country’s leader has inspected Virgin Hyperloop One’s Hyperloop Pod, New Atlas claims. Interestingly, a Virgin Hyperloop One Pod is on a national tour of the United States, visiting cities like Columbus, Ohio, and Los Angeles, The Los Angeles Business Journal reports.

Hyperloop One begins Mumbai-Pune Project

The Maharashtra State Cabinet has formally asked Virgin Hyperloop One and DP World to participate in the Mumbai Pune Hyperloop Line project.

To explain the cabinet appointed a consortium of port operator DP World and Virgin Hyperloop One as the Original Project Proponent (OPP) on the scheme, The Hindu reports. An state official tells The Hindu, “The consortium will have to produce a project report. This will be open to debate and challenge by rivals. Finally, the best proposal will be awarded the rights to build and operate the Mumbai-Pune Hyperloop.”

The hope is to provide transportation for a future Mumbai-Pune megacity. The number of potential passengers for that project is huge. For instance, 6.452 million people live in the Pune metro area, the World Population Review estimates. In addition, 20.186 million people live in the Mumbai metro region.

Mumbai to Pune Hyperloop Construction could begin this year

Therefore, I estimate the Pune-Mumbai Hyperloop could have 26.637 million potential riders in two cities. However, it will probably be a while before the pods leave the Mumbai Hyperloop station for Pune.

Current plans call for a 11.4 kilometer (7.08 mile) long test track between Gahunje and Ozarde. If the test track is successful, the Maharashtra state government plans to build the Hyperloop along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.

The entire Mumbai-Pune Hyperloop could be 117.5 kilometers or 73.01 miles long. The Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority could start seeking contracts and issue a work order for Hyperloop construction in September, The Hindu claims.