Maharashtra's government has announced that a consortium of Virgin Hyperloop One and global ports owner DP World would be the preferred operator to build "the first hyperloop transportation system in the world".
The planned hyperloop line will connect the two cities in western India, which are around 100 miles apart, in 35 minutes. This would be a drastic reduction on current travel times of three and a half hours by car.
Line planned as world's first
"Maharashtra will create the first hyperloop transportation system in the world and a global hyperloop supply chain starting from Pune," announced Devendra Fadnavis, chief minister of Maharashtra.
"We have just named the DP World – Virgin Hyperloop One consortium as the original project proponent for the Mumbai-Pune hyperloop project and [are] preparing to start the public procurement process," he continued.
"Maharashtra and India is at the forefront of hyperloop infrastructure building now and this is a moment of pride for our people."
Numerous routes are currently competing to be the world's first operable hyperloop system. Virgin Hyperloop One is also planning a system to link Dubai and Abu Dhabi, while Elon Musk's infrastructure firm The Boring Company has permission to begin digging a tunnel in Washington DC to connect the city with New York.
Another system has been proposed in Europe by Hardt Hyperloop, for which UNStudio has envisioned a series of modular stations, while a line to link Mexico City to Guadalajara in Mexico is also under development.
"India firmly in the lead" in race to build first hyperloop
According to Virgin Hyperloop One, the announcement from the Maharashtra government has put India in the pole position to build the first hyperloop line.
"This is history in the making," said Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop One. "The race is on to host the first hyperloop transportation system in the world, and today's announcement puts India firmly in the lead.
"This is a significant milestone and the first of many important steps toward bringing hyperloop to the masses," he added.
Hyperloop technology was conceived by Musk in 2013. The systems would project pods at near-supersonic speeds through partially depressurised tubes. Proponents of the technology believe that it could be used to create a high-speed public transport alternative to trains and planes.
Virgin Hyperloop One is one of several companies vying to develop the technology. The company was established in 2014 to develop the hyperloop, with Richard Branson becoming a mayor investor leading to the company being renamed in 2017.
Along with passenger systems the Virgin Hyperloop One has also collaborated with DP World and Foster + Partners to create a vision of a cargo hyperloop network.
Image courtesy of Virgin Hyperloop One.