Economy

Virgin set to build hyperloop between Pune and Mumbai

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on February 19, 2018 Published on February 18, 2018

Richard Branson addressing a press conference in Mumbai on Sunday. - PAUL NORONHA   -  Paul Noronha

To create jobs and transform airports, says Virgin Hyperloop One Chairman Richard Branson

With Maharashtra planning to build a hyperloop system between Pune and Mumbai, India may perhaps be the first country to host the high-speed travel system, even as Dubai is close on the heels. However, this being the early days of hyperloop, it would take another 3 years to complete the test run and 6-7 years from now for commercial operations.

On Sunday, Los Angeles-based Virgin Hyperloop One announced its intent to build a hyperloop between Pune and Mumbai, beginning with an operational demonstration track. Hyperloop enables passengers and goods placed in pods inside a partial-vacuum tube to be transported at aircraft speeds.

“I have sat in Indian traffic every time I have come here, it’s not a pleasant experience, and if I were an Indian a lot of my life would have been spent sitting in traffic jams. This is a miserable way of spending one’s life,” Virgin Group founder and Virgin Hyperloop One Chairman, Richard Branson, said in an interaction with select mediapersons.

 

“Virgin Hyperloop One will save thousands of lives by providing connectivity, creating jobs and transforming airports. This will be similar to trains opening up connectivity in India in the last century,” he said.

Hyperloop has the capability of going up to 1,000 km an hour, but on this route, it would be about 350 km. The journey to Pune would take about 14-25 minutes at 350 kmph, which now takes about 3.5 hours. Later in time, the speed would go up to 600-1,000 kmph.

The cost of building a hyperloop is much less than that of building a high-speed railway line, he added.

Low price

“We are not pricing this for the wealthy, but it will be for the masses. It’s quite possible that India would be the first,” Branson said, adding the system costs about hundreds of millions of dollars to build.

The present route will link central Pune, Navi Mumbai International Airport and Mumbai, eventually supporting 150-million passenger trips annually, and saving more than 90 million hours of travel time. Cities in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are next in line.

The project, which will be executed by a public-private partnership, will involve Indian investors, IT companies and the best brains in India.

This route could result in a $55 billion (₹3,50,000 crore) socio-economic benefits (time savings, emissions and accident reduction, operational cost savings) over 30 years of operation, according to a pre-feasibility study by Virgin Hyperloop One.

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

Published on February 18, 2018
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor