Calcutta is all set to celebrate 150 years of its Tramways, the only active Tram system in the country and the oldest in Asia. Different non-profit organisations have joined hand for organizing a week-long “Tramjatra” starting 24th February ’23.
On that day in 1873 the first trams ran between Armenian Ghat and Sealdah. The Tramways of Calcutta are not just a transport but a history of wheels which has seen many historic events like India’s Struggle for Independence to the World War to Bengal Famine to Great Calcutta Killings, Pain of Bengal partition and has successfully continued to chug unfettered despite countless threats of closure.
At Nonapukur Tram Workshop, tram lovers and enthusiasts were seen actively preparing and decorating Tram cars for the upcoming events.
The programs will kick off on 24th February at 10am followed by a photo exhibition next day themed on Climate Change: Reprising Mother Earth and Green Mobility. A Tram Parade will roll from Gariahat Tram Depot to Esplanade on 26th February in which Environmentalists, Students and common citizens are expected to take part. On 1st March a Panel Discussion on the necessity of Trams as sustainable, eco-friendly and viable transit will be held. Finally, on 2nd March the event will conclude at Gariahat Tram World with Cultural programmes and discussions and debate over Trams as heritage or Trams as an integral part of public.
Tram enthusiasts in this week long celebration will be pitching for resumption of closed tram routes, right now there are hardly 20 Tram cars and only two active routes, the number was 37 even a decade ago.
The Government came under criticism from different sections, few weeks ago upon its decision to restrict Trams on few stretches as “Heritage” only and not resuming close routes. This week Speaker of Legislative Assembly Biman Bandyopadhyay had himself asked Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim to see that Trams continue to run in as they are unique to and an emblem of the city. Also, Tram services have made a comeback on the Route 5: Shyambazar to Esplanade as Madhyamik Special Tram Services for convenience of examinees.