Sir Richard Branson promises to build 'revolutionary' Hyperloop train service

Adjust Comment Print

Importantly, Virgin Hyperloop One will be all-electric and the team is working on ensuing it is a responsible and sustainable form of transport too. Hyperloop One will rebrand as Virgin Hyperloop One, as the Virgin Group invests in the high-speed transportation effort.

Led by Rob Lloyd, CEO, Shervin Pishevar, co-founder and Executive Chairman, and Josh Giegel, co-founder and President of Engineering, Hyperloop has built a fully operational Hyperloop system.

Hyperloop One is one of a handful of firms developing technologies whereby passengers and cargo would be loaded into pods that travel at high speeds through low-friction tubes above or below ground.

Virgin is a leading global investment group and one of the world's most recognised and respected brands.

"Ever since our creation, Virgin has been known for disruption and investing in innovative companies", said Branson. In its announcement today, Virgin Hyperloop One says that it "continues to see a growing demand from governments and the private sector around the world".

"We have a new ally in our mission to reinvent transportation", Hyperloop One's co-founders said in a statement.

"Together with Virgin, we will not only transform how we live, we will rethink how it feels to travel by creating a passenger experience that people will enjoy and look forward to riding".

In June, Dutch startup Hardt Global Mobility unveiled Europe's first Hyperloop test facility in Delft in the Netherlands' west. Since then, this Hyperloop concept has been explicitly open-sourced by Musk and SpaceX to encourage others to take the ideas and further develop them as Virgin Hyperloop One has done.

He added: "During phase two of testing, the duration of the longest test has been 10.6 seconds, with the top speed of 192mph (310kmh) - or 86 metres per second". The pod magnetically levitates inside the tube in near-vacuum, without any air resistance.

This isn't the first futuristic and unproven transportation project for Virgin Group. The 67-year-old British entrepreneur founded Virgin Galactic in 2004 with the stated goal of making space tourism accessible to the masses. The West Coast Main Line, which HS2 will mostly duplicate, is at near full capacity during morning peak hours on its southern stretches, with 200kph (125mph) trains running at intervals of just 120 seconds.

Australian-listed telecommunications company Sky and Space Global announced in June past year that it had signed a letter of intent with Virgin Galactic to use its vehicle LauncherOne to launch up to 200 nano-satellites into space from 2018. He said there was a "long way to go" before it could be used in the real world.