Richard Branson announces Hyperloop plan for India

Virgin Hyperloop One, the futuristic transport startup backed by British tycoon Richard Branson, has announced plans for a superfast rail network linking India’s financial capital Mumbai to the city of Pune. (File Photo: AFP)
Updated 20 February 2018
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Richard Branson announces Hyperloop plan for India

MUMBAI: Virgin Hyperloop One, the futuristic transport startup backed by British tycoon Richard Branson, has announced plans for a superfast rail network linking India’s financial capital Mumbai to the city of Pune.
The proposed hyperloop — which aims to deliver transport at near-supersonic speeds in sealed tubes — would reduce travel time between the Indian cities from 3 hours to around 25 minutes, the company said.
Branson said Sunday the company had signed a preliminary agreement with the Maharashtra state government to build the first phase of a hyperloop network that could eventually criss-cross India.
“I believe Virgin Hyperloop One could have the same impact upon India in the 21st century as trains did in the 20th century,” Branson said in a statement.
The proposed route would connect Mumbai’s secondary airport in Navi Mumbai with Pune city, located 150 kilometers away.
Branson, whose Virgin Group entered a partnership with California startup Hyperloop One in October, said a demonstration track would be built within two to three years of the final agreement.
The super-high-speed transport project would take a further five to seven years to complete before being ready to ferry 150 million passengers annually, the company said.
The technology, theorized by entrepreneur Elon Musk for rail transport at near-supersonic speeds, could transform Indian cities like Mumbai and Pune plagued by creaking infrastructure.
Experts say the proposed hyperloop system, though aspirational, could upon completion ease the load on overburdened road and rail networks in India.
Virgin Hyperloop One is working to develop a pod system that can travel at up to 750 miles per hour with better safety than passenger jets, and lower build and maintenance costs than high-speed trains.


Oil prices mixed as Trump calls on OPEC to lower prices

Updated 16 min 49 sec ago
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Oil prices mixed as Trump calls on OPEC to lower prices

  • OPEC and its allies are scheduled to meet on Sunday in Algeria
  • They are not likely to agree to an official increase in crude output at this weekend’s meeting
SEOUL: Oil prices were mixed on Friday after falling in the previous session as US President Donald Trump urged OPEC to lower crude prices ahead of its meeting in Algeria this weekend.
International benchmark Brent crude for November delivery was up 5 cents at $78.75 a barrel by 0424 GMT.
US West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery fell 8 cents to $70.24 a barrel.
Trump called on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to lower prices, saying on Twitter “they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices.”
OPEC and its allies are scheduled to meet on Sunday in Algeria to discuss how to allocate supply increases to offset a shortage of Iran supplies due to US sanctions.
Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at OANDA in Singapore, said Trump’s remarks just days before the OPEC meeting put “a focus on the likely supply impacts of US-led Iran sanctions.”
“The market had until that point been trading fluidly with the assumption that Saudi Arabia is now comfortable with Brent at $80 or even higher, which is challenging the market’s long-held supposition that prompt Brent between $70 and $80 was OPEC’s sweet spot,” Innes added.
Brent has been trading just below $80 a barrel, backed by concerns of supply shortages from looming US sanctions against Iran, which are set to take effect in November.
“Iranian crude exports are coming earlier and bigger-than-expected, at a time seasonal demand is strong. With spare capacity also falling sharply, the market remains exposed to supply-induced price shocks,” according to a report by ANZ Bank.
Although supply worries have pushed up oil prices, OPEC and its allies were not likely to agree to an official increase in crude output at this weekend’s meeting, OPEC sources said.