Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop One has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Maharashtra government to build a hyperloop transportation system between Mumbai and Pune to bring travel time to just 25 minutes. The current travel time is around three hours. The MoU announcement was made during the Magnetic Maharashtra investor summit.
“Virgin Hyperloop One can help India become a global transportation pioneer and forge a new world-changing industry. The Pune-Mumbai route is an ideal first corridor as part of a national hyperloop network that will dramatically reduce travel times between most of India’s major cities to under two hours,” Virgin Hyperloop One Chairman stated in a press release.
While key details such as the total cost of the project and an exact timeline of launch are yet to be finalised, it will take some time before Hyperloop as a transportation comes to India. According to a report in The Hindu Business Line claims it will take at least three years to complete the test run and about six years to kick-start commercial operations. 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.
Last year, the Andhra Pradesh government had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the US-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) to connect the cities of Vijayawada and Amravati. Currently, the travel time between the two cities is approximately an hour. With the Hyperloop, it will come down to a mere six minutes.
Here’s everything to know about the Hyerloop idea and what it will mean for Pune-Mumbai
First Hyperloop is the next-generation train system, which uses a magnetic levitation and a low-pressure transit tube. The high-speed train network has been visualised as an alternative to short distance air travel and the existing train network. One can expect speeds reaching over 700 mph, which is around 1126 kilometres per hour. Currently the fastest train in India would be Talgo at 180 km per hour, though this is still under test run.
The Hyperloop concept was first proposed by Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. It should be noted that Musk is no longer directly involved in the development of this technology. Hyperloop One was first announced a contest with various teams, companies competing.
However, when it comes to the actual implementation of Hyperloop, tests are underway in several parts of the world. Although the Hyperloop has been hailed as an alternative to the existing transportation system, many believe that the concept is flawed and impractical. Also it has not yet been tested with actual humans on board the super fast transit tubs.
Musk originally estimated that a route from Los Angeles to San Francisco would cost about $6 billion, or approx $11.5 million per mile. But leaked documents from Hyperloop One (seen by Forbes) put that cost to $13 billion, or $121 million per mile. Besides that, it still faces technological, regulatory hurdles, and several issues related to ownership of land that could slow down the prospects of setting up a Hyperloop transportation system.
Coming to the proposed Hyperloop for Pune and Mumbai, it will link central Pune, Navi Mumbai International Airport, and Mumbai in 25-minutes. According to some points shared by Richard Branson, this system will connect 26 million people and support 150 million passenger trips per year.
The Pune-Mumbai route could result in $55 billion (Rs 350,000 crore) in “socio-economic benefits, time savings, accident reduction and operational cost savings, over 30 years of operation,” claims the billionaire. The route will be 100 per cent electric and could reduce greenhouse gas emissions up to 86,000 tons over 30 years. Branson says “the Pune-Mumbai route is an ideal first corridor as part of a national hyperloop network that will dramatically reduce travel times between most of India’s major cities to under two hours”.