Virgin Hyperloop One and the state government of Maharashtra has signed an agreement to bring a faster commute between Mumbai and Pune. The government has signed a framework agreement with the US-based company to build a hyperloop between the two cities beginning with an operational demonstration track.
Virgin Group founder and Hyperloop Chairman Richard Branson announced the framework agreement is signed with the state government of Maharashtra to develop a Hyperloop route between central Pune, Navi Mumbai International Airport and Mumbai.
“I believe Virgin Hyperloop One could have the same impact upon India in the 21st century as trains did in the 20th century. The Pune-Mumbai route is an ideal first corridor as part of a national hyperloop network that could dramatically reduce travel times between India’s major cities to as little as two hours,” Richard Branson said. “Virgin Hyperloop One can help India become a global transportation pioneer and forge a new world-changing industry,” he added.
The Hyperloop route will link the places mentioned above in 25 minutes and connect 26 million commuters, supporting 150 million passenger trips per year.
The Pune-Mumbai route is expected to pull $55 billion (Rs 3.5 lakh crore) in socio-economic benefits (time savings, emissions cuts, accident reduction, operational cost saving etc.) over 30 years of operation, as per an initial feasibility study made by Virgin Hyperloop One.
The company said in a statement that they will first analyse and align the route for six months, courtesy of an in-depth feasibility study. The study is said to help them examine environmental and economic / commercial aspects, in addition to cost and funding model recommendations.
The company did not disclose the cost of investment for the project or the specific time frame. However, Virgin cites it will be divided into two phases: the first phase will set a demonstration track to built in two to three years of signing the agreement. The second phase will aim to complete the construction of the Pune-Mumbai route in 5-7 years.
While this sounds a big announcement, it’s not the first proposal put in India’s transport segment. US-based research company Hyperloop Transportation Technology in September 2017 announced plans to connect Vijayawada and Amravati in the south-eastern coastal state of Andhra Pradesh.
Hyperloop, the future transport system was exemplified as a concept by the PayPal & SpaceX creator, Elon Musk in 2012. Musk proposed a system of transport would be ‘immune to weather, have lower power consumption and deliver twice the speed of a plane.’
The proposed system is said to have pods that will travel at high speed through a tube that will be pumped into a ‘near vacuum.’ The pods are expected to float either using magnetic levitation technology or ‘air caster skis.’ With minimal friction, the pods are said to travel at over 700 mph.