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India will reportedly have the world’s first fully functional Hyperloop train

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You may soon be travelling in a train running at 496 km per hour, that could get you from Mumbai to Pune in 23 minutes! You may also be the first one in the world to do that.

Hyperloop, the futuristic and still theoretical transportation system has been designated a “public infrastructure project” by the state of Maharashtra. This would make India the first country ever to get the fully functional Hyperloop train.

Some tests, like certifying the hyperloop safe for human passengers, are yet to get a green flag, but Virgin Hyperloop One, is confident that their project in Maharashtra has almost been finalised. Hyperloop is Elon Musk’s dream transportation project, and Virgin is enabling it here.

Virgin Hyperloop One. Image: Hyperloopone.com

The Maharashtra government will reportedly launch a formal bidding process for building a Pune-to-Mumbai hyperloop. Virgin Hyperloop One said it expects to be the winner, at which point it will break ground on the world’s first hyperloop.

The Hyperloop train could cut down the travel between Mumbai to Pune down to 23 minutes from the current three and a half hours to four-hour travel. It will run from the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai to Wakad in Pune, covering a distance of 117.5 km.

According to a report by The Verge, Hyperloop has also ensured that no taxpayer money will be spent on this Rs 70,000 crore project. DP World, a major Dubai port operator with significant business in India, will be spending $500 million to complete phase one of the project; the rest of the money will come from other investors.

The conversation about a hyperloop project in India has been going on since December 2016. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) had reached out the Indian government three years ago, followed by Virgin Hyperloop One signing agreements with the governments of Maharashtra and Karnataka in 2017 to study the impact of a hyperloop in the region.

Virgin Hyperloop One has never tested the system with a human passenger, however, at its test facility in the desert north of Las Vegas it has repeatedly sent its magnetically levitating pod through a nearly airless tube at speeds of up to 370 km/h. That’s of course really fast, however, it’s not as much as the theoretical maximum speed of over 900 km/h that Hyperloop mentions.

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