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Credit: Virgin Hyperloop One

Credit: Virgin Hyperloop One

Indian state of Maharashtra announces intent to build first Hyperloop route

On Feb 18, it was announced that Indian State of Maharashtra signed a historic agreement with Virgin Hyperloop One to begin the development of the first Hyperloop route in India, connecting Pune and Mumbai.

Currently, the Pune-Mumbai corridor serves 130,000 vehicles daily and over 100 million people annually.  Once completed, the Navi Mumbai International Airport along the Pune-Mumbai corridor will be able to serve 60 million passengers annually.

The Framework Agreement was announced by Virgin Group Founder and Virgin Hyperloop One Chairman Sir Richard Branson, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis.

According to press release issued by Virgin Hyperloop One, Indian State of Maharashtra announced its intent to build a hyperloop between Pune and Mumbai. Construction will begin with an operational demonstration track.

Pune-Mumbai route will support an annual number of 150 million passenger trips and help India boost its economic competitiveness through high-speed transportation innovation and job creation.

The hyperloop route will link central Pune, Navi Mumbai International Airport, and Mumbai in 25 minutes, connecting 26 million people and creating a thriving, competitive megaregion.

The high-capacity passenger and cargo hyperloop route eventually will support 150 million passenger trips annually, saving more than 90 million hours of travel time, and providing citizens with greater opportunities and social and economic mobility.

The hyperloop system will also have the potential for the rapid movement of palletized freight and light cargo between the Port of Mumbai and Pune, creating a robust backbone for on-demand deliveries, supply chains, and next-generation logistics.

“With Virgin Hyperloop One, we can create a sustainable infrastructure that will enhance the State of Maharashtra's competitiveness and attract new investment and businesses,” said Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis.

He also commented that 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.

Virgin Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd also commented that India would be a tremendous market for hyperloop and that the Pune-Mumbai route is “one of the strongest economic cases” the company has seen to-date.

According to an initial pre-feasibility study completed by Virgin Hyperloop One, the Pune-Mumbai route could result in US$55 billion in socio-economic benefits over 30 years of operation, through time savings, emissions and accident reduction, operational cost savings, etc.

The electric, efficient hyperloop system will ease severe expressway congestion and could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 150,000 tons annually.

The Pune-Mumbai hyperloop project will begin with a six-month in-depth feasibility study which will 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.

The feasibility study will build upon the findings of the pre-feasibility study signed in November 2017 between the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority and Virgin Hyperloop One.

The project will enter a procurement stage upon the successful completion of the feasibility study to determine the public-private partnership structure.

“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,” said CEO of the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority Kiran Gitte.

Construction of the Pune-Mumbai hyperloop route would commence after procurement and will be completed in two phases, beginning with an operational demonstration track built between two points on the route:

(1)      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.

(2)      The second phase will target to complete construction of the full Pune-Mumbai route in 5 to 7 years.

Future projects could also extend the route to link central Pune with the New Pune International Airport and Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai with Pune’s industrial economic zones.

“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,” said Virgin Group Founder and Virgin Hyperloop One Chairman Sir Richard Branson.

Other than the Indian state of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh is also exploring hyperloop transportation technology for connecting two cities, Amravati and Vijaywada.

As reported earlier by OpenGov, the Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDBsigned a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) to facilitate the development of HTT's Hyperloop Transportation System. The project will use a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, with funding primarily from private investors.

The Amravati-Vijaywada hyperloop could potentially reduce travel time between the two cities from 1 hour 10 minutes to 6 minutes.

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