Virgin Hyperloop picks W.Va. for site of certification center

Virgin Hyperloop today announced the location of its full-scale testing and certification center. And while the technology sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, it will be built in Tucker and Grant counties, in northeastern West Virginia.

The hyperloop is essentially a high-speed train, but it is enclosed in a vacuum tube and propelled by an electromagnetic current while it levitates above the track.

That combination allows pods carrying passengers and cargo to travel at speeds of up to 670 miles an hour — three times faster than high-speed rail. That would allow it to travel the length of Kentucky, from Pikeville to Paducah, in about 30 minutes.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice could not contain his excitement over the announcement.

“Today is a fantastic day for the state of West Virginia, and I’d like to be the first to officially welcome the folks from Virgin Hyperloop to their new home,” said Governor Jim Justice. “For years, I have been saying that West Virginia is the best kept secret on the East Coast, and it’s true. Just look at this announcement and all it will bring to our state – investment, jobs, and tremendous growth. It’s a true honor and privilege to be selected as the site for the Hyperloop Certification Center and lead the nation in this next step forward for transportation. When we approached Virgin Hyperloop, I told them that we would do everything we could to bring this opportunity to West Virginia. We look forward to working with the Virgin Hyperloop team to create a lasting partnership for years to come.”

Plans call for Virgin Hyperloop to achieve safety certification by 2025, with commercial operations beginning in 2030.