GCC member-states could start putting together a concrete plan to develop a regional transport network based on hyperloop technology within a few years.

“There is an ambition to build a hyperloop network linking the entire region but the planning involved in projects of such scale usually takes three to four years,” a source with knowledge of the preliminary plans tells MEED.

It is not confirmed if formal planning discussions to build the network have started between Saudi Arabia and US-based Virgin Hyperloop One, which recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Philanthropic Foundation (Misk) to train and certify young Saudi nationals on hyperloop tehcnology.

The MoU involves developing both college- and university-level curriculums revolving around the hyperloop system. It also includes international internship framework for Saudi students.

Virgin Hyperloop One is the new brand of the US-based start-up following an investment made by UK’s Virgin on the firm.

A 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.