What are Calcutta Trams?

Calcutta Trams is the oldest operating tram network in India and the oldest operating tramway in Asia. It started its operations in 1902, making it the second-oldest electric tramway in the country after Madras electric street tramway.

Why are Calcutta Trams in news?

February 22, 2023 marks 150 years since the 1st tram was flagged off in Kolkata. To mark the occasion, the West Bengal Transport Department organized a Tramjatra for enthusiasts from as far away as Australia and Germany.

Who operates Calcutta Trams?

The tram system is currently being operated by West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) after Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC) was dissolved. In the 1960s, the network had around 37 lines. Over the decades, it was reduced to only 6 lines due to financial constraints, poor maintenance, road flyovers, reduced ridership and expansion of the Kolkata metro.

History of Calcutta Trams

The first trams in Calcutta were horse-drawn and were built in 1873. They ran for 3.9 km. They were discontinued. In 1880, the Calcutta Tramway Company was formed. The steam trams were introduced in 1883. Electric trams were introduced in 1902. In 1951, the West Bengal Government signed an agreement with the Calcutta Tramway company. In 1967, the West Bengal Government took over control of the tramway company.

Electric trams were first introduced in Chennai in 1895. In Bombay, the electrification happened in 1907.

Decline of Tramway

The decline of the tramways in India started in the early 30s with the closure of the Kanpur tram. Mass closure began in the mid-fifties in the cities of Delhi, Chennai, and Mumbai. However, the tram services survived in Kolkata.

Trams declined for their low speed and also due to the development of another transport system, and advancement in technologies. According to the city dwellers, tram is unsafe and also time consuming.

Trams in other countries

Trams still operate in countries like Austria, Estonia, Denmark, Croatia, Belgium, etc. Trams are the colonial imprints.




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