If the Howrah bridges, Victoria Memorials of this 300 years old Charnock's city reveal the rich historical past and grandeur then can the trams which are christened as the 'lifelines of the city' be left behind ? certainly not . Ever since the first tram which rolled out in the tracks way back in Feb 24th 1873 this sturdy built electrically driven carriage has gone through the wears & tears with the ravages of time, carving out our golden phases of history. Braving out the illustrious moments of our Indian freedom struggle, World wars, Kolkata tram had come a long way and still its wheel continue to pave its way as a rail witness of the present era and hopefully for the future too. Having nurtured the rich heritage of this city of joy, kolkatan tramway has itself turned into an unique heritage of its own with a different essence.
Past in a nutshell...
1873 :- The attempt to run a tramways service between Sealdah and Armenian Ghat Street of route length 2.4 mile was made on Feb 24 The service was not adequately patronised and was wound up on Nov 20.
1880 :- The Calcutta Tramways co ltd was formed and registered in London on 22nd Dec , Meter -gauge horse-drawn tram track between Sealdah to Armenian Ghat via Bowbazar Street, Dalhousie Sq. Customs House and Strand Road was laid . The route was inaugurated on 1st nov 1880.
1882 :- Steam locomotives were deployed experimentally to haul tramcars. By the end of the nineteenth century the Company owned 186 tramcars, 1000 horses, 7 steam locomotives and 19 miles of tram tracks.
1900 :- Electrification of Tramways and simultaneous reconstruction of tracks to the standard gauge (4'-8½ '') was taken up. By the end of 1905 the entire system was converted to an electric traction.
1905 :- Howrah station to Bandhaghat section for tramways was opened in June. Lines to Sibpur via G.T. Road was made ready in 1908.
1943 :- The Calcutta system was connected with Howrah section through the new Howrah bridge in Feb with this extension , the total track length reached 42.09 miles (67.73Kms).
1951 :-The Govt. of West Bengal entered into an agreement with the Calcutta Tramways Co and the Calcutta Tramways Act, 1951 was enacted . The Govt took over all rights with regard to Tramways and reserved the right to purchase the system on 1st Jan, 1972 or any time thereafter giving two years notice.
1967 :- The Govt of West Bengal passed the Calcutta Tramways Company (Taking Over of Management ) Act, 1967 and took over the management on 19th July 1967. On November 8th, 1976 the Calcutta Tramways (Acquisition of Undertaking) Ordinance , 1976 was promulgated under which the Company with all its assets vested with the government.
1970 :-The Howrah sections were closed down in Oct 1970 and Dec 1971/1973 Nimtala Ghat route was closed down in May 1973. The total track length was reduced to 38.58 miles (62.08kms).
1985 :-On April 17, extension of track was completed connecting Maniktala to Ultadanga Station via Maniktala Main road (3.7 kms) This is the first Tramways extension since 1947.
1986 :- On Dec 31 further extension of tram track from Behala to Joka was completed.
1992 :- Calcutta Tramways Company has taken a new venture by introducing Bus services from 4th November 1992 initially with a fleet of 40 buses.
Down the memory lane, when the tram made its maiden journey from Sealdah to Armenian ghat, It left everyone spell bounded. In course of time,the trams has gone through vast modernisations but still it has rolled down the tracks like the tickings of Bigben. Having witnessed our glorious past in the rails,this tireless heritage has itself unfurled another golden chapter in our historical book.No doubt Kolkatan tram can be designated as a priceless pride having served as a rail witness from the era of Governor generals,maharajas to our present Kolkata & without which the Kolkatan history would remain incomplete. Kolkata Tramways-' wheels that writes & sights our glorious past,present & our future too'