Europe’s Longest Hyperloop Test Track Opens

European Hyperloop Center in the Netherlands seeks to advance futuristic transport technology, despite US setbacks

The longest hyperloop test track in Europe has opened for testing to help prove the feasibility of the futuristic high-speed transportation system.

The European Hyperloop Center (EHC) announced the completion of its hyperloop test infrastructure in the Netherlands, which runs alongside an existing train track.

The 420-metre hyperloop test tube is now available for testing, and “can demonstrate all essential hyperloop technologies including a full lane switch.”

But the arrival of this hyperloop test track comes at a worrying time for the transportation technology. In December 2023 Hyperloop One (formerly Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop) announced it was closing down for good, after years of difficulties and hundreds of millions in funding.

Hyperloop testing

Despite that setback for the tech in the US, the EHC pointed out that European operators will be able to use the facility to help prove the hyperloop’s feasibility.

Operators reportedly said the facility would help prove the hyperloop’s feasibility, touting optimistically it could allow a 6,200-mile (10,000km) network of high-speed tubes to be in place around the continent by 2050.

European Hyperloop Center in Veendam, the Netherlands.
Image credit: The European Hyperloop Center (EHC)


EHC said that Hardt Hyperloop, a leading innovator in the field, is set to commence its first tests in the coming weeks.

“This marks a pivotal moment in hyperloop development,” said Sascha Lamme, director of the EHC. “It is great that this state-of-the-art facility in the Province of Groningen has been brought to life with the support of all our partners, and we can’t wait for the first tests to happen.”

The EHC hyperloop pipe in Veendam, the Netherlands, is made of 34 interconnected prefabricated 2.5-metre-wide steel cylinders developed by POSCO in collaboration with Tata Steel.

European Hyperloop Center in Veendam, the Netherlands.
Image credit: The European Hyperloop Center (EHC)

The fork in the Vandeem pipe will allow engineers to test what happens at a “lane switch”, when a high-speed vehicle changes course.

What is hyperloop?

Hyperloop is an experimental transport system that could potentially propel pods or shuttles through low-pressure tubes at speeds of up to 670mph.

A Virgin Hyperloop pod in November 2020 had reached a speed of 107mph carrying two passengers through a 500 metre track in the Nevada desert.

The idea of trains in vacuum has been touted many times in science-fiction. For example the concept of Hyperloop transportation was first introduced by Robert H. Goddard in 1904.

More recently firms such as Hyperloop One had intended to develop the transportation idea that originated with Elon Musk’s so-called “alpha paper” in 2013, which proposed a line linking San Francisco and Los Angeles.

It was envisioned a hyperloop using magnets to propel shuttles along pipes in near-vacuum conditions, with the lack of friction and air resistance potentially allowing the vehicles to rival the speed of aeroplanes.

Supporters tout the more energy efficient benefits that a hyperloop offers for the mass transportation of people or indeed freight, compared to high speed rail or indeed air travel.

The EHC project is partly funded by the European Union, and the current 420 metre test pipe is somewhat shorter than the 2-mile track envisaged in 2020. It will allow speeds of only a fraction of the proposed 670mph top speed.

Hyperloop testing

Meanwhile Hardt Hyperloop confirmed it is set to commence its first tests in the coming weeks.

“The European Hyperloop Center’s facility is the perfect ground for us to validate and advance our technology,” said Marinus van der Meijs, co-founder & Technology and Engineering Director at Hardt Hyperloop.

“This infrastructure enables us to demonstrate the essential technologies such as magnetic levitation, propulsion, stabilisation, and even lane-switching, at speeds up to 100 km/hr,” said van der Meijs.

European Hyperloop Center (EHC) in The Netherlands.
Image credit European Hyperloop Center (EHC)
European Hyperloop Center (EHC).
Image credit European Hyperloop Center (EHC)


It pointed out that due to the technical advancements of hyperloop, there is an increase in market traction for hyperloop globally.

In Italy, a feasibility study on a hyperloop pilot route has recently started. And India is apparently gearing up to start a hyperloop pilot in 2026.

Meanwhile Chinese state media has previously reported that a one-mile test track for “low-vacuum pipeline magnetic levitation technology” had been opened in Shanxi province in 2022.