The Indian state of Maharashtra has signed an agreement with Virgin Hyperloop One, announcing its intent to build the first hyperloop route in India, potentially linking Jawaharlal Nehru Port with Pune.
According to the developers, the system will have the potential for the rapid movement of palletised freight and light cargo between the Port of Mumbai and Pune, creating a backbone for on-demand deliveries, supply chains, and next-generation logistics.
If successful, the hyperloop route will link central Pune, Navi Mumbai International Airport, and Mumbai in 25 minutes, and supporting 150m passenger trips annually.
Sir Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One, said: “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.”
An initial pre-feasibility study completed by Virgin Hyperloop One indicated that the Pune-Mumbai route could result in US$55bn in socio-economic benefits over 30 years of operation, including time savings, emission reductions and operational cost savings.
The electric system could also ease severe expressway congestion and cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 150,000 tonnes annually if all goes to plan.
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 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.