New Delhi (Sputnik) — British tycoon Richard Branson-backed Virgin Hyperloop One has proposed an ambitious project in India involving the construction of a futuristic super-fast transportation system in the western state of Maharashtra. If realized, the Hyperloop would connect the city of Pune with the upcoming new airport in Mumbai in just 25 minutes, saving about three hours.
Virgin Hyperloop One is working on technology that would use magnetic levitation in low-pressure tubes to transport people and goods at speeds of at least 240 miles an hour.
The founder of the Virgin Group signed a preliminary agreement on Sunday in Mumbai in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanavis for a broad Hyperloop framework, the company said in a statement.
"The Hyperloop route would link central Pune, Navi Mumbai International Airport, and Mumbai in 25-minutes and connect 26 million people. Supporting 150 million passenger trips per year, it would help create a thriving, competitive megaregion," Virgin Group said in a statement.
Apart from solving infrastructure bottlenecks to rapid urbanization, Virgin Hyperloop One brings some hope to the Narendra Modi government, which is finding it extremely difficult to break the stagnancy in employment generation.
"We expect the high-capacity passenger and cargo Hyperloop system to create tens of thousands of jobs, helping to attract new business and investment in the region," Virgin group added.
The 100 percent electric, energy efficient system will also ease severe expressway congestion and could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 86,000 tons over 30 years, the company estimated.
"The Pune-Mumbai route is an ideal first corridor as part of a national Hyperloop network. I believe Virgin Hyperloop One could have the same impact upon India in the 21st century as trains did in the 20th century," Branson said in his statement.
In September 2016, US-based research company Hyperloop Transportation Technology announced a project to connect Vijayawada and Amaravati in the southeastern coastal state of Andhra Pradesh with the rapid transportation system. However, lack of clarity on the regulatory framework and land acquisition bottlenecks has kept the project from advancing.