Richard Branson unveils plan for 700mph Hyperloop in India

Casey Dawson
February 20, 2018

The operational demonstration track is expected to get completed in a time span of three years linking Mumbai, Navi Mumbai International Airport, and central Pune.

Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder and Virgin Hyperloop Chairman, made the announcement accompanied by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadanvis.

The route could lead to United States dollars 55 billion (Euro 39.2 billion) in socio-economic benefits over 30 years of operation, according to an initial pre-feasibility study by Virgin Hyperloop One. The same journey by train would take more than three hours.

Virgin Group has been working on its own superfast transportation system "Hyperloop One", and will be opening the world's first-of-its-kind transportation service in India.

Meanwhile, Barnson is not the only one who is in the fray to make Hyperloop into a mass transportation system. The hyperloop is expected to reduce travel time between the cities to 20 minutes, from the present three hours. Virgin says its technology would use magnetic levitation in low-pressure tubes to transport people and goods at airplane-like speeds.

Judging the Mumbai-Pune loop by the yardstick, the 100-150km long project could also cost upwards of $10 billion, which would make it more expensive than the 650km-long bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad at a projected cost of $17 billion.

Hyperloop One said the state government could also consider rapid movement of palletized freight and light cargo between the Mumbai port and Pune.

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Apart from solving infrastructure bottlenecks to rapid urbanization, Virgin Hyperloop One brings some hope to the Narendra Modi government, which is finding it extremely hard to break the stagnancy in employment generation.

Notably, Virgin began identifying "potential routes", analyse "high-level economic" and "technical viability of hyperloop transport solutions" in India in November previous year, BGR noted.

The deal between Virgin Hyperloop One and Indian state of Maharashtra was announced on Sunday. The system is also said to reduce gas emissions of up to 86,000 tons over 30 years.

"We expect the high-capacity passenger and cargo Hyperloop system to create tens of thousands of jobs, helping to attract new business and investment in the region", Virgin group added.

Where is the Mumbai to Pune hyperloop being built?

The Pune-Mumbai hyperloop project will begin with a six-month in-depth feasibility study which will analyse and define the route alignment including environmental impact, the economic and commercial aspects of the route, the regulatory framework, and cost and funding model recommendations. It's being claimed that the cost of building a hyperloop is much less than building a high-speed railway line for the same distance. Also important to note that a MoU is not an agreement or a contract, which means we will still have to wait for final terms, costs and deadlines for the project, if it does go through.

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