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Kolkata's trams on sale: One heads to Gurgaon, another Chandigarh

Kolkata's iconic 143-year-old tram service could soon be riding into the sunset

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Kolkata tram in its golden days. Photo: Wikipedia

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 routes shrink, IndiaToday reported on Tuesday. According to the report, one such 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 is headed for the 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 service would soon be riding into the sunset. According to the 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 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 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 system in Asia. 

First Published: Wed, July 12 2017. 13:14 IST