Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop One is all set to build a superfast transport system in India that will connect the planned new airport in Mumbai to Pune city. The system will reduce travel times between the two locations from three hours to 25 minutes. The company signed an agreement on Sunday for a hyperloop framework and a demonstration track will be built within three years from signing of the final agreement.
First theorised by Elon Musk in 2013, Branson is touting the Hyperloop to help in solving the infrastructural hiccups faced India is struggling with, reports Livemint. While PM Narendra Modi is pumping in Rs 8.6 trillion to upgrade the railways in India, the Pune-Mumbai hyperloop project will cost about $55 billion in terms of socio-economic benefits over 30 years of operation, as per a study conducted by Virgin Hyperloop One.
“I believe Virgin Hyperloop One could have the same impact upon India in the 21st
century as trains did in the 20th
century,” Branson said. “The Pune-Mumbai route is an ideal first corridor as part of a national hyperloop network.”
Hyperloop is a new train service that loads commuters and cargo into a ‘pod’ that speeds up inside a low pressure tube. The pods can reach speeds that are 2-3 times more than high speed rail. The Hyperloop One is in the nascent stages of being commercialised. According to Economic Times, India could be the first market for Hyperloop One, ahead of the US, Europe and the Middle East.