In a historic agreement with Virgin Hyperloop One, the state government of Maharashtra has flagged off an ambitious project to build the country’s first ever Hyperloop route between Mumbai and Pune.
With the announcement of the framework agreement to begin the development of the route, the deal was signed by Virgin Group Founder and Virgin Hyperloop One Chairman, Sir Richard Branson in the presence of both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, during the ‘Magnetic Maharashtra’ investment summit on Sunday.
“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. Virgin Hyperloop One can help India become a global transportation pioneer and forge a new world-changing industry,” said Sir Richard Branson at the event.
The planned 100 percent electric hyperloop route will link central Pune, Navi Mumbai International Airport, and Mumbai. It is claimed that it will cut the travel time between these locations to 25 minutes.
Also, if all goes to plan, it will provide the state with enhanced social and economic mobility and eventually support 15 crore passenger trips annually, by saving more than 9 lakh hours of travel time through its elevated passenger and cargo capacity.
“With Virgin Hyperloop One, we can create a sustainable infrastructure that will enhance Maharashtra’s competitiveness and attract new investment and businesses. The Pune-Mumbai hyperloop route will be an economic catalyst for the region and create tens of thousands of jobs for India’s world-class manufacturing, construction, service, and IT sectors and aligns with Make in India initiatives,” said Devendra Fadnavis during the launch.
The project was initially kickstarted through a pre-feasibility study signed between the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority and Virgin Hyperloop One in November 2017.
The authorities plan on using the findings drawn from this study as the basis for the new feasibility study for the Hyperloop project. During its estimated 6-month period, the study would analyse and define the route alignment including environmental impact, the economic and commercial aspects of the route, the regulatory framework, and cost and funding model recommendations.
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Being touted by policymakers to have the potential for the rapid movement of palletised freight and light cargo between the Port of Mumbai and Pune, the Hyperloop project is envisioned to create a robust backbone for on-demand deliveries, supply chains, and next-generation logistics.
The project, once commenced, will play a significant role in not just easing expressway congestion but also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 150,000 tons annually.