Virgin Hyperloop eyes Mumbai-Pune link

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on November 16, 2017

A Hyperloop One test vehicle (File photo)   -  REUTERS

Inks pact with State govt to conduct feasibility study

The Maharashtra government on Thursday entered into a tie-up with Virgin Hyperloop One for exploring the possibility of connecting Mumbai and Pune with hyperloop transportation system. The US-based company will conduct a preliminary study in the region.

According to a press statement issued by the company, it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) for identifying potential routes and for analysing the high-level economic impact and technical viability of hyperloop transportation solutions in India.

Phenomenal speed

With speeds two to three times faster than high-speed rail, and being fully autonomous, hyperloop technology can deliver a 300-km commute in under 20 minutes. Business tycoon Richard Branson and his Virgin Group are investors in the company.

The statement said that the company would work with its partners in the region and the PMRDA will help navigate the regulatory requirements and support the report with data.

The preliminary study is intended to analyse the applicability and benefits of hyperloop technology, identify high priority routes within the State based on demand analysis and socio-economic benefits.

“A hyperloop route requires high-density traffic to become viable as a means of rapid public transit. Mumbai and Pune, the most and seventh most populous cities in India respectively, have the potential to provide an optimal route with a high density,” said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in the statement.

“By reducing travel time to under 20 minutes, a hyperloop route will help intensify the connectivity between the metropolitan regions of Pune and Mumbai, transforming the two cities into India’s first and largest megapolis,” he added.

Huge potential

The company said in the statement said that looking at the present traffic scenario in Mumbai, Virgin Hyperloop One can reinvent and transform transportation in Maharashtra as it redefines speed with minimal time consumption.

A hyperloop solution could revolutionise the transport experience, it said.

It would take just 14 minutes to travel between Mumbai and Pune, a journey that currently takes up to three hours by car. It could also streamline airport connectivity, such as connecting Pune’s new Purandar Airport to the city center or Navi Mumbai International Airport to Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.

It could look at connecting Nagpur, which is in the easternmost part of Maharashtra, with Mumbai and Pune to vastly improve passenger and freight transportation, the statement said. Managing Director (Middle East & India), Virgin Hyperloop One, Harj Dhaliwal said that his company is the only one in the world that has successfully built and tested the first full-scale hyperloop system.

With this report, the State government will be able to identify viable routes that link commercial and knowledge hubs dispersed throughout the region with greater mobility and unparalleled efficiency, he said in the statement.

‘Key facilitator’

“To coincide with the Digital India initiative and the pivotal role that technology will play in it, Virgin Hyperloop One can be a key facilitator,” said Nick Earle, SVP Global Field Operations, Virgin Hyperloop One.

“India has a proud track record of technological advancement by leapfrogging legacy solutions as illustrated by the successful national rollout of 3G and 4G networks. Hyperloop represents a leapfrog opportunity which will enable a dramatic reimagining of the complete transportation system,” he added.

Apart from India, Virgin Hyperloop One is working on projects in the UAE, the US, Canada, Finland, and the Netherlands.

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Published on November 16, 2017
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