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An Unforgettable Ride On A Kolkata Tram

June 07, 2023 16:25 IST

Ever since my childhood I have been fascinated with Kolkata and its trams.

IMAGE: A tram patiently waiting at Esplanade depot. All Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/

My father would frequently visit Calcutta (now called Kolkata) during his youngers days for work and would share stories about the culture, food and of course. the trams. Those tales have remained with me ever since.

p>I made my first trip to Kolkata last year and fulfilled my dream of taking the tram, not once, but many times during my visit.

The double-coached tram is a pocket-friendly way to travel around Kolkata. Once upon a time there were many more lines, but now only a few lines exist.

The oldest tram network in Asia, Kolkata trams began in 1880 from Sealdah to Armenian Ghat, were horse-drawn and operated by the Calcutta Tramways Company, which was registered in London. India's then viceroy Lord Ripon inaugurated this service and it became electric in 1902.

Once a network of 37 routes, it was reduced to five and then as of January 2023 to just two. There are groups working to preserve and save the tramways of Kolkata, but it is an uphill task because of the lack of passengers and road congestion.

I travelled from Esplanade depot to Gariahat tram depot, which took a little over 20 minutes and set me back merely Rs 7 :)

Presenting some pictures of this endearing marvel called the Cal tram.

IMAGE: The interiors take you back a few decades, which feels quite lovely. Large windows, wooden seats, yellow light bulbs and big round fans get West Bengal Transport Corporation a big thumbs up from me for not upgrading.
One tram car can sit 60, with another 140 standing.
The first cars were imported from England and now the latest trams are being manufactured at the Nonapukur workshop in Kolkata.


IMAGE: How exciting it would be go to school by tram! No fancy, swish car could better that experience.


IMAGE: Don't want to miss out on your Instagram stories, use the WiFi. Yup, this centuries-old system is Internet savvy. I didn't bother to connect as I was too busy enjoying the ride.


IMAGE: Picture in picture effect.


IMAGE: 'THIS CAR IS YOURS, PLEASE TAKE CARE'. Such a wonderful message. I hope to travel again on many a quaintly clanging tram when I visit Kolkata next.


Watch the tram take on the Kolkata traffic in STYLE! Video: Hitesh Harisinghani/

Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/