Sir Richard Branson has invested in a Hyperloop firm which he claims will transport passengers between London and Scotland in 45 minutes.
The billionaire’s Virgin Group has formed a partnership with Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One, which is developing a method of propelling passengers and freight in pods through low pressure tubes at high speed.
Virgin described it as “the world’s most revolutionary train service”.
The company will be rebranded as Virgin Hyperloop One and Sir Richard will join the board of directors.
It is aiming to achieve speeds of up to 670mph and have “operational systems” ready by 2021. 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.”
Sir Richard, who is currently developing commercial space travel through Virgin Galactic, went on: “Virgin Hyperloop will be able to transport people from London to Scotland in 45 minutes. “I have a funny feeling that I’ll get a lot of satisfaction from people saying it’s transformed their lives.”
Trains between London and Edinburgh currently take around four hours and 20 minutes, with flights lasting one hour and 20 minutes. Hyperloop One is in the early stages of making the technology commercially viable after completing a full-scale test in Las Vegas.
The idea was first launched by Tesla boss Elon Musk in August 2013. He is not associated with Hyperloop One but has urged interested parties to develop the technology.