Travelers spend around three hours journeying from Mumbai to Pune by train today in India. A hyperloop could revolutionize the trip, slashing it down to a mere 25 minutes. And that’s exactly what Richard Branson-backed Virgin Hyperloop One aims to do. They signed an agreement with the state of Maharashtra, as the state announced their intention to construct what could be India’s first hyperloop route between Pune and Mumbai.

Continue reading below
Our Featured Videos

Richard Branson, Virgin Hyperloop One, Maharashtra, signing, conference, hyperloop

Virgin Hyperloop One just signed an historic agreement with the Indian state Maharashtra. They plan to construct a hyperloop between Mumbai and Pune, a corridor 130,000 vehicles travel daily right now. They’ll begin with an operational demonstration track. Branson said in a statement, “I believe Virgin Hyperloop One could have the same impact upon India in the 21st century as trains did in the 20th century.”

Related: Virgin Hyperloop One: Richard Branson invests in Musk-inspired high-speed transportation system

26 million people would be connected by the new route, which would link the two cities and Navi Mumbai International Airport. The electric transportation system would cut greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 150,000 tons a year. And a pre-feasibility study conducted by Virgin Hyperloop One revealed over 30 years the route could offer $55 billion in socio-economic benefits, as people save emissions and time. The hyperloop route would support 150 million passenger trips a year, according to Virgin Hyperloop One, saving more than 90 million hours. Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra chief minister, said the route would create tens of thousands of jobs in manufacturing, construction, service, and information technology.

Virgin Hyperloop One, Mumbai, Pune, India, Maharashtra, Navi Mumbai International Airport, map, transportation

What comes after a signing? First, a six-month in-depth feasibility study. The study will scrutinize environmental impact, cost, funding models, regulations, and economic and commercial aspects. A procurement stage would follow to nail down a public-private partnership structure, and then construction would begin, with the demonstration track built in the first phase. According to Virgin Hyperloop One, the demonstration track could be built “in two to three years from the signing of the agreement,” and the second phase could see completion of the full route in five to seven years.

+ Virgin Hyperloop One

+ Virgin

Images via Virgin Hyperloop One (1,2)