Maharashtra, Virgin Hyperloop One, Hyperloop, Hyperloop route between Pune and Mumbai, Richard Branson, Narendra Modi, Devendra Fadnavis
Maharashtra to build India’s first Hyperloop. (Photo: PIB)

Maharashtra will build India’s first Hyperloop Route between Pune and Mumbai with the help of British firm . The proposed hyperloop route will link central Pune, Navi Mumbai International Airport, and Mumbai in 25-minutes, connecting 26 million people. The Pune-Mumbai hyperloop project will begin with a six-month in-depth feasibility study which will analyze 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. 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. 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. The second phase will target to complete construction of the full Pune-Mumbai route in five to seven 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.

Virgin Group Founder and Virgin Hyperloop One Chairman announced the Framework Agreement in the presence of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra . "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 Branson.

The Pune-Mumbai route could result in $55 billion (INR 350,000 crores) in socio-economic benefits (time savings, emissions and accident reduction, operational cost savings, etc.) over 30 years of operation, according to an initial pre-feasibility study completed by Virgin Hyperloop One. The 100% electric, efficient hyperloop system will ease severe expressway congestion and could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 150,000 tons annually, said Virgin Hyperloop One.

"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 Fadnavis. "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."

"We have always believed that India would be a tremendous market for hyperloop. The Pune-Mumbai route is one of the strongest economic cases we have seen to-date," said Virgin Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd. "The State of Maharashtra has made a strong commitment to building the first hyperloop route in India. We are looking forward to partnering with the State as well as our partners to make the Pune-Mumbai route a reality."

Virgin Hyperloop One is backed by investors including DP World, Caspian VC Partners (part of Summa Group), Virgin Group, Sherpa Capital, Abu Dhabi Capital Group, SNCF, GE Ventures, Formation 8, 137 Ventures, WTI, among others.

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