Sir Richard Branson stepping down as chairman of Hyperloop One

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Sir Richard Branson is stepping down from his role as chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One, the company has announced.

It said his decision was based on the “increased commitment of time the position now requires”.

Sir Richard took on the role late last year, and his board seat will be taken by Patrick McCall, chairman of Virgin Galactic, Virgin Orbit and Virgin Rail Group.

In the past year, Virgin Hyperloop One has been working with the government of Maharashtra on a plan to develop its first Hyperloop route from Mumbai to Pune.

A Virgin Hyperloop One functions by a pod travelling above the track using magnetic levitation and gliding at airline speeds due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag.

Edinburgh to London (a distance of 414 miles) was just one of 10 routes proposed by Virgin.

The concept of the Hyperloop was first proposed by Tesla boss Elon Musk in August 2013, who released the plans for free.