From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Hyperloop
Mains level : High speed connectivity in India: Prospects and Challenges
The new coalition government in Maharashtra is set to discuss the progress of ambitious Mumbai-Pune Hyperloop One.
What is Hyperloop?
- It is a next-generation travel system that uses pods or capsules travelling at high speeds through low-pressure tubes erected on columns or tunneled underground using magnetic levitation.
How does it work?
- The system is fully autonomous and sealed, so no driver-related error is anticipated.
- In a sealed environment with almost no air resistance, the pods are expected to reach very high speeds.
- The top speed could reach over 700 mph or 1,125 km/h.
- This speed is more than two and a half times the top speed of the world’s fastest train, the Shanghai Maglev (267 mph or 430 km/h), and some 200 mph faster than the cruising speed of a commercial jetliner (460-575 mph/740-925 km/h).
What was the Branson plan?
- Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop One proposed a hyperloop between Mumbai and Pune, which would reduce the travel time between the two cities to just 25 minutes from the existing three hours.
- It would link central Pune, Navi Mumbai International Airport, and Mumbai. It was pitched as a plan with potential to transport 26 million people and make 159 million passenger trips per year.
- The route would be 100 per cent electric, which means a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions up to 86,000 tonnes over 30 years.
- The project involves construction across a length of 117.5 km; an initial testing track of 11.8 km was to be constructed in the first phase from Pune’s Hinjewadi.
What did the Maharashtra government do to take forward the proposal?
- It was categorised as a “public infrastructure project”, and received Cabinet clearance to speed up land acquisition for the testing track.
- The Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority was assigned the task of overseeing the implementation of the first phase.
- The government also decided to use the “Swiss challenge” method for the bidding of the project.
- That means the first bidder would be challenged by other global bidders, and in order to stay in the game, would have to match those bids.
- The method is normally used for unsolicited bids for public infrastructure projects.