Richard Branson Unveils Hyperloop Plans for India

Federico Mansilla
Febrero 19, 2018

The announcement about the details regarding the project cost and time period is yet to come. Additionally, the company expects the hyperloop route to ease expressway congestion and cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 150,000 tonnes on a yearly basis.

Branson said the Virgin hyperloop project in Maharashtra will be prefaced by a test track between Mumbai and Pune, work on which will start after a six-month feasibility study.

Virgin Hyperloop One, which has been testing in Nevada with speeds reaching 240 miles an hour, is working to meet a goal of having three production systems in service by 2021, according to its website. Apart from India, the company is working on projects in countries like the UAE, the US, Canada, Finland, and the Netherlands. The demonstration track will be constructed in two to three years and serve as a platform for testing, certifying, and regulating the system for commercial operations. The team conceptualising the whole plan has found out in their initial studies that in 30 years, the first corridor alone would provide benefits of $55 billion (Rs 3,50,000 crores) in socio-economic issues, travel duration, reduced accidents among others. The second phase will target to complete construction of the full Pune-Mumbai route by 2025. In the future, there could be another channel for light cargo movement, linking central Pune with the New Pune International Airport, and the Jawaharlal Nehru Port, in Mumbai, with Pune's industrial economic zones.

In fact, Branson claims the hyperloop can be set up at much lower cost than a high-speed rail network.

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The hyperloop is an experimental mode of surface transport, refined by maverick entrepreneur Elon Musk.

In a decade from now, going by promises, travelling the 150 kilometre distance between Mumbai and Pune may take just as long as getting food delivered to one's doorstep today.

Actually, the company hopes to eventually set up a network, creating "the largest connected urban area in the world by linking almost 75 million people across the three metropolitan areas " of the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh". In September 2016, US-based research company Hyperloop Transportation Technology announced plans to connect Vijayawada and Amaravati in the southeastern coastal state of Andhra Pradesh. "It will be a collaborative investment worth Rs 60,000 crore, where 20 global companies will be investing", he added. "It's quite possible that India would be the first", Branson said, adding the system costs about hundreds of millions of dollars to build.

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