Variety

On the heritage track

ARUNANGSU ROY CHOWDHURY | Updated on May 10, 2012 Published on May 10, 2012

Kolkata: The Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC) Ltd, which now governs the heritage transport system in Kolkata, was formed and registered in London on 22nd December in 1880. Meter -gauge horse-drawn tram track between Sealdah to Armenian Ghat via Bowbazar Street, Dalhousie Square, Customs House and Strand Road was laid in Kolkata. The Govt of West Bengal passed the Calcutta Tramways Company Act in 1967 and took over the management. But, unfortunately the pollution free, slow mode, transport system could not compete the speed of the modern age. The pictures of the different sections of the Nonapukur workshop in Kolkata taken on Saturday, only reflects the nostalgia of the by-gone era. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury/ April 07, 2012.

Nonapukur workshop in Kolkata taken on Saturday, only reflects the nostalgia of the by-gone era. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury   -  Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

Nonapukur workshop in Kolkata, only reflects the nostalgia of the by-gone era. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury   -  Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

Glimpses of half-broken compartments and grimy wheels reveal a piece of Kolkata's heritage – the tram. The one-time ‘lifeline of the city' is becoming an anachronism, thanks to a fast-paced modernised transport system.

February 24, 1873, saw a horse-drawn compartment – the first ever tram – run on a 2.4 mile (a little over 4 km) track between Sealdah and Armenian Ghat Street. In 1880, the Calcutta Tramways Company Ltd (CTC) which now governs the heritage transport system in Kolkata, was formed and registered in London on December 22. A meter-gauge horse-drawn tram track between Sealdah and Armenian Ghat passed through Bowbazar Street, Dalhousie Square, Customs House and Strand Road. The pictures of the different sections of the Nonapukur workshop in Kolkata tell the story of a bygone era.

Now, nearly 140 years down the line, the CTC struggles to compete with its faster counterparts.

In this expanse of time, Calcutta Tramways saw a new owner: The West Bengal Government passed the Calcutta Tramways Company Act in 1967 and took over the company. It undertook a series of resuscitative and modernisation measures to reverse its situation of perpetual losses and put it back on the route to health. While all these strategies have been in vain, new hopes are pinned on a new State Government. Tramways is in search of its much-awaited turnaround.

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Published on May 10, 2012
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