India is a step closer to getting a hyperloop route after plans were revealed to construct a test track between two major cities.
The super-fast transport link would connect Mumbai, Navi Mumbai International Airport and Pune in 25 minutes, a journey that takes more than three hours by train, to create a “megaregion” in the State of Maharashtra.
Procurement will begin after an in-depth feasibility study to analyse the route and define the environmental impact, economic and commercial aspects, regulatory framework and cost and funding model recommendations is completed.
Construction of the first stage will start with an operational demonstration track built between two points on the route and is expected to be completed within two to three years. The second phase will be the construction of the full Pune-Mumbai route which would take five to seven years.
An agreement was signed by Virgin group founder and Hyperloop One chairman Richard Branson, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday to begin the development of the route.
pune to mumbai route map
“We have always believed that India would be a tremendous market for hyperloop,” said Virgin Hyperloop One chief executive Rob Lloyd, “The Pune-Mumbai route is one of the strongest economic cases we have seen to date”.
The route could produce $55bn (£39.3bn) of socio-economic benefits, including time savings, emissions and accident reduction, and operational cost savings over a 30-year period, an initial pre-feasibility study found.
Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority chief executive Kiran Gitte said: “The Pune-Mumbai hyperloop project will ultimately be executed by a public-private partnership which will save taxpayer money while delivering a transport option that will help the State of Maharashtra support economic growth, improve sustainability, and meet the transport demands.”
Virgin Hyperloop One chairman Richard Branson added: “I believe Virgin Hyperloop One could have the same impact upon India in the 21st century as trains did in the 20th century.
“The Pune-Mumbai route is an ideal first corridor as part of a national hyperloop network that could dramatically reduce travel times between India’s major cities to as little as two hours.”
Hyperloop One has already built a test track for the new technology, which could potentially reach speeds of up to 1,200km/h. The first full-scale test was carried out at the 500m DevLoop site in the Nevada desert in July last year.