Virgin Hyperloop One Is Building an R&D Center in Spain’s High-Speed Rail Heartland

Spain’s national rail infrastructure company will host a new international hyperloop research center built by Virgin Hyperloop One.

The center will be located in an unused experimental train warehouse in Bobadilla, Spain, the publicly-owned rail infrastructure company Adif announced today. Spain is home to one of the most advanced high-speed rail networks in the world and competes to build high-speed rail in other countries, including the United States. Sixty different rail technology companies are housed at The Railway Innovation Hub, not far from Bobadilla.

Hyperloops are a kind of vacuum-enclosed magnetic-levitation train proposed in some form as long ago as the nineteenth century by Jules Verne. The idea got new momentum a few years ago when entrepreneur Elon Musk began promoting it. Several international companies are now competing to put the first commercial one into operation.

The Bobadilla facility will cost some $500 million, Adif estimates, with the Spanish national government providing $126 million in loans and research support.

Meanwhile, student and volunteer groups around the world are competing to push hyperloop technology, too. Last month, students from the Technical University of Munich got their self-propelled hyperloop pod up to 284 miles per hour.

Virgin Hyperloop One—whose leadership turned over earlier this year due to sexual harassment claims, unrelated criminal charges, and funding problems—also has preliminary deals for hyperloops in Texas, India, and the United Arab Emirates.

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