One of Kolkata's iconic trams, a symbol of the city's metropolitan history that is being pushed out of service as more modern means of transport take over, appears to have found a new home far from the busy streets of the City of Joy.
The West Bengal State Transport Corporation is selling some of its antique trams, 12 out of the total 269 trams the body possesses to be exact, as tram
routes shrink, IndiaToday
reported on Tuesday. According to the report, one such tram
is headed for Gurgaon. However, don't expect to take a ride across the NCR suburb in the wood and metal contraption anytime soon. The tram
is headed for the Heritage Transport Museum
in Manesar, Gurgaon.
Another such tram, according to the report, will be refurbished to serve as a restaurant by the Chandigarh bidder who bought it.
No more trams in Kolkata?
In September last year, the Hindustan Times
reported that Kolkata's tram
service would soon be riding into the sunset. According to the national
daily, several high-level meetings involving senior bureaucrats were held in the months before the report was published to work out how to discontinue Kolkata's 143-year-old mode of urban transport.
The rationale behind discontinuing the service, according to the report, is that trams are seen to be occupying too much road space while carrying too few passengers. Further, that they slow down vehicle traffic on roads.
According to the IndiaToday
report, of the 140 or so trams that are in working order, only 90 or so trams are being used currently. Further, of the 269 tram
cars in the possession of WBSTC, 50 are antiques, the report added. Of these antique cars, 12 are have been earmarked for sale.
Till the service continues, Kolkata's tram
network holds the distinction of being the only such operational system in the country today. Also, since electric trams were introduced in Kolkata from 1902, it is also the oldest operating electric tram
system in Asia.