California-based transport company Hyperloop One and Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) have signed an agreement to pursue studies for hyper-fast passenger and cargo travel in the UAE.

The agreement was signed at a press event held in Dubai on 8 November, with Hyperloop One aiming to roll out the first phase of its concept in 2020.

The company is to produce a feasibility study sponsored by the RTA that could see the travel time from Dubai to Abu Dhabi cut to just 12 minutes.

In October, Hyperloop and Dubai-based DP World signed another agreement that saw DP World invest $50m in the US firm.

It is understood the $50m is a convertible note and is part of the ongoing Series C funding round of the company, which will conclude in 2017. The latest investment brings the total capital raised by Hyperloop One to $160m.

The latest round of funding is seen as crucial as Hyperloop One is aiming to test its first full-sale prototype in Las Vegas, Nevada in the first quarter of 2017. The company is now setting up a test-track and metalwork fabrication facility at the site.

In August, DP World signed a memorandum of understanding with Hyperloop One to look “into the value of using Hyperloop systems for moving containers from ships docked at the Jebel Ali port to a new inland container depot”.

Hyperloop infrastructure includes a station or loading platform, a capsule or pod that would carry passengers or cargo, and a tube through which the capsule will travel, which utilises electro-magnetic propulsion and passive magnetic levitation systems. It offers theoretical speeds of up to 1,220 kilometres an hour.

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Hyperloop One in Dubai

Could a Hyperloop precede the GCC railway?

Demand grows for GCC rail regulatory body

Demand grows for GCC rail regulatory body

Despite opinion that lower government income should not affect the business case or diminish the economic incentive for building infrastructure such as railways, fiscal realities across the region are dictating which projects are awarded, or not.

GCC transport ministers are now reported to have, in principle, agreed earlier this year to push back the target completion date for the GCC rail network from 2018 to 2023. This date will be further discussed in their annual meeting to be held in the last quarter of the year.

The individual states are equally not forthcoming in terms of the status of their mainline rail schemes. The cancellation of the tender for the second phase of the UAE’s Etihad Rail in January seems to have provided the other states with one more reason to push back on their mainline rail plans, apart from the ongoing review of projects in line with lower revenue. Read more.