British tycoon Richard Branson-backed Virgin Hyperloop One is proposing to build a super-fast transportation system in India that would connect the city of Pune with the planned new airport in Mumbai in 25 minutes, saving about three hours, reports Bloomberg.
The company did not divulge much about the cost of the project but said it hoped to disseminate $55 billion worth of socio-economic benefits, ensure accident reduction and huge operational cost savings in the first 30 years.
The route will connect central Pune with Navi Mumbai global airport. If things fall in place, travel between Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, and Amaravati could take place in under two hours in the next decade.
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. It would reduce the travel time between the cities to 25 minutes from close to three hours. Called Hyperloop, this technology involves passenger-carrying capsules that move through an nearly air-less tube at an extremely high speed - nearly at the speed of sound - using magnetic levitation. Neither Branson nor any government official has revealed any timelines for the hyperloop between Mumbai and Pune. It would involve a train-like pod, one gathers from Virgin Hyperloop One's designs, which will gain acceleration through the phenomenon of electric propulsion. The first test runs are expected to be conducted in the next 3 years while commercial operations would start in the next 6-7 years.
The track is expected to create tens of thousands of jobs.
Mumbai to Pune in 25 Mins? India's First Hyperloop Project Gets the Green Signal
The project will commence with a six-month in-depth feasibility study, followed by a procurement stage to determine the public-private partnership structure.
While a high-speed Hyperloop system seems like a distant dream, it does feel one step closer with this recent announcement.
Announced in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, the Mumbai-Pune project isn't the country's first Hyperloop. Additionally, it will do so at little to no cost to the environment as the project will be completely self-powered with electricity generated by its own solar panels.
However, changes to hyperloop designs since the initial concept have lessened g-forces, with Hyperloop One saying they would be no worse than take-off, and adding that additional mitigations would make the journey as smooth as riding an elevator. "The demonstration track will be constructed in two to three years from the signing of the agreement and serve as a platform for testing, certifying and regulating the system for commercial operations". This technology is not yet commercially operational anywhere in the world and if all goes well, India may have the world's first operational Hyperloop route. It will also reduce the strain on local trains and the Mumbai-Pune expressway.More news: Trump Defended After NYT Survey Ranks Him as Worst President
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