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

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Richard Branson's Virgin Group just invested in Hyperloop One, the crazy superfast transport idea of Elon Musk

Hyperloop One, the Los Angeles-based startup working on an ultrafast tube transportation system, is no more.

"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 Group founder Richard Branson said in a press release.

The technology for Hyperloop One is now in the early stages of the commercialisation phase after the successful completion of the world's first full-scale Hyperloop systems test at their DevLoop site outside of Las Vegas.

Hyperloop, the brainchild of Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, involves pods being propelled through a near-vacuum at speeds of up to 700mph.

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Hyperloop One has risen to the forefront of those companies, with another, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, not far behind.

Neither has had a smooth ride, however. Last month, the company announced it had raised an additional $85 million, bringing its valuation to somewhere around $700 million, the Verge reported.

"You may first have heard of the original hyperloop name through Elon Musk", Branson wrote in a blog post announcing the deal. In July, Musk - who isn't involved in Hyperloop One - revealed on Twitter that he'd received "verbal government approval" to build a hyperloop capable of ferrying passengers between NY and Washington in 29 minutes. Critics note that no company involved has any history or expertise in securing the sort of massive government approval needed to build an intercity railway, and that on many factors other than speed, it is not clear that Hyperloop is actually an improvement.

But Hyperloop One has not been without controversy. "In addition, travelling at those speeds means that any fault in the system would mean everyone on board would die".

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