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Revolutionary Newcastle transport scheme Hyperloop wins backing from Sir Richard Branson

Virgin tycoon Sir Richard Branson has thrown his weight behind a revolutionary transport system which could take people from Newcastle to Leeds in just 13 minutes.

The serial entrepreneur already has planes and trains under the Virgin banner and has ambitious plans to conquer space tourism within years.

Now Sir Richard has announced Virgin’s investment in Hyperloop One, to form a global strategic partnership which will see the project renamed Virgin Hyperloop One.

The move is the latest stage to bring the world’s most revolutionary train system a step close to fruition.

A proposal to use the Hyperloop technology to link Newcastle with Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool – called the Northern Arc – fended off competition from around the world to be named one of 10 schemes to be progressed.

Led by Newcastle’s Ryder Architecture and engineers Arup, the Northern Arc would see major cities across the North and Scotland connected through the innovative technology which would allow passengers to travel between all cities in a little over 45 minutes.

Hyperloop involves loading passengers and cargo into a pod which is accelerated via electric propulsion through a low pressure tube.

Josh Giegel, co-founder and president of engineering at Hyperloop One, said:

We’ve focused on developing the technology required to make Hyperloop a reality and demonstrated that it works.

The combination of our proven technology and Virgin’s expertise in transportation, operations, safety and passenger experience will accelerate the commercialization phase of our company’s development.

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. Our goal is to make travel fun again.

Sir Richard said:

After visiting Hyperloop One’s test site in Nevada and meeting its leadership team this past summer, I am convinced this groundbreaking technology will change transportation as we know it and dramatically cut journey times.

Virgin has been known for investing in and creating innovative companies over the years, and I look forward to making history together as we bring Hyperloop to the world as Virgin Hyperloop One.

How a Hyperloop station could look

How a Hyperloop station could look (Image: Hyperloop One)

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