The hyperloop concept involves a pressurised pod with a vehicle carrying passengers or cargo up to 10 times faster than current rail. A 35km track will be built, alongside a research and development facility and manufacturing plant, north of Jeddah. Some remain sceptical that hyperloop travel can become a reality.

Virgin Hyperloop One said the technology could reduce a journey from Riyadh to Jeddah to 76 minutes, compared with more than 10 hours currently.

‘Saudi Silicon Valley’

“Our partnership with Virgin Hyperloop One is a matter of pride for us and all of Saudi Arabia,” said Mohanud A Helal, Secretary General of the Economic City Authority.

He added that he hoped it would be a “catalyst for a Saudi Silicon Valley effect”.

The company showed off a pod travelling at over 100km/h (62mph) in a 500m (1,600ft) vacuum tube in Nevada in July 2017.