Hyperloop One becomes 'Virgin Hyperloop One' with Virgin Group investment

Richard Branson's Virgin Group has invested in Hyperloop One
Virgin Hyperloop One

"For more than 20 years, Richard and Virgin have been at the forefront of transportation innovation, and a partnership with them feels like a natural fit", Shervin Pishevar, co-founder and executive chairman of Hyperloop One, said in a statement.

First pitched in 2013 by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the ambitious idea for a hyperloop system (Musk himself is considering building a hyperloop of his own) involves a series of tubes that transport pods using magnetic levitation in a vacuum-sealed environment.

The airline mogul announced that the highly-anticipated train service would come following a sizable investment from Virgin Airlines, although the exact amount injected into the project is unknown as of now. As part of deal, the startup will rebrand as Virgin Hyperloop One and Branson will join the board.

Hyperloop One is one of a handful of firms developing technologies whereby passengers and cargo would be loaded into pods that travel at high speeds through low-friction tubes above or below ground.

The company has conducted two successful tests of its Hyperloop system on its 500-meter development track in Nevada. And with that, the company's rebranding to a not-clunky-whatsoever-name: Virgin Hyperloop One.

Trains: Hyperloop floats above the surface of the tube.

As a result, projected journey times in the United Kingdom include Edinburgh to London in 50 minutes.

Virgin Group already has a hand in space travel through its Virgin Galactic spaceflight company, and now the group is investing in high-speed transportation.

Previous estimates for hyperloop journey times include a 338-mile route between Glasgow, Edinburgh and Liverpool in 38 minutes. "We have always been passionate about innovation in transport too, especially the development of technology that could transform people's lives", the statement reads.

Branson said the company was working on "exciting projects" around the world but no lines have been confirmed as yet.