In a visit to Mumbai last Thursday, Hyperloop Transportation Technology (HTT) Chairman and co-founder Bibop Gresta revealed that if the Indian city is as serious about installing this technology as he is, the subcontinent will have its high-tech railway system in exactly 38 months. Although no deal has been made with the city, Gresta explained that all of the factors in India, in terms of population density and lack of infrastructure, make a fit environment for the Hyperloop-technology-driven railway system.

The Hyperloop technology works by pumping air out of the tubes to maintain a low-pressure, near-vacuum environment, making it possible to move, in theory, at close to the speed of sound. People and cargo will be transported in pods at ultra-high speeds through specially built tubes. The pods would accelerate to a speed that could reach 745 miles per hour (1,200 kilometers per hour) gradually, using a linear electric motor and glide above their track using passive magnetic levitation or air bearings.

Thousands of commuters die every year due to overcrowding on India’s trains, and, besides India’s ever-growing population, some argue that this is mainly due to the outdated railway systems. VP and Head, Global Delivery at Sasken Technologies Limited Krishna Kumar writes to The Financial Express: “We need to [modernize] the signalling and communication systems in the Indian Railways, considering that we still use manual signalling at several places. Although wireless technologies, like GSM-Railways (GSM-R) are being tried, due to poor implementation, the Railways have not been able to [utilize] the full potential. On the other hand, advanced countries are looking at high-speed 4G wireless technologies for railway communication.”

HTT’s pitch to the Indian government dates back to late 2016. A few days after Gresta’s visit to Mumbai, news broke about Hyperloop One, HTT’s rival, flying to India for talks about an identical project.

Elsewhere in Asia, Dubai will become home to the first Hyperloop One transport link railway system in 2020. UAE commuters currently spend 1 hour and 30 minutes on a bus to reach Dubai from Abu Dhabi or vice versa. The Hyperloop promises to connect commuters in the two cities in 12 minutes.

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