The state has signed an agreement with Virgin Hyperloop One.
Virgin Group founder and Virgin Hyperloop One chairman Sir Richard Branson 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. Virgin Hyperloop One can help India become a global transportation pioneer and forge a new world-changing industry.”
Hyperloop is a new type of transportation system that would enable passengers and cargo to be loaded into a pod, which will accelerate gradually via electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube. The pod will lift above the track using magnetic levitation and be able glide at airline speeds for long distances. Systems will be built on columns or tunnelled below ground.
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 plan is for the project to enter a procurement stage upon the successful completion of the feasibility study to determine the public-private partnership structure. Construction would be completed in two phases, beginning with an operational demonstration track built between two points on the route. The aim is for the demonstration track to 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 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.
India’s prime minister Narendra Modi said: “51 per cent of total investments in India have come to Maharashtra, and the state is attracting global investors. The state’s overall development in the past few years is a shining example of change thinking and improving conditions in the country. Maharashtra government was ahead of all other Indian states in terms of infrastructure spend and the state is on its way to achieving its bold vision of a trillion dollar economy.”
The hyperloop route would link central Pune, Navi Mumbai International Airport, and Mumbai in 25-minutes, connecting 26 million people. The system also has the potential for the rapid movement of palletised freight and light cargo between the Port of Mumbai and Pune.