While India’s only tram system in Kolkata was reason enough to explore the city’s vintage heritage, the fact that it has now has a fully air-conditioned coach is double the reason for joy.
An iconic part of Kolkata’s old world charm, the tram run by Calcutta Tramways Company is being refurbished and for the better. While the city’s reeling under the scorching heat, this move surely has good timing. The tram has been launched in one of the city’s busiest areas, connecting Shyambazar to Esplanade. The 32-seater single coach runs at a gentle speed of 35kmph, making six round trips a day, and has pneumatic doors that add to the overall comfort. Definitely a God-sent, we’d say.
It’s being estimated that the transformation cost somewhere around INR 25 lakhs, yet it has been generating thrice the revenue of the usual Non-AC tram. Though the tram is a slower commute option than that of the city’s slew of buses, autos and metros, it has a certain charm to it that has helped in keeping its spirit alive. Even if the locals may not hop onto it every day, the tourists definitely like to experience a ride on it.
One of the oldest tram services in Asia, the Kolkata tram has been running since the year 1902. However, it’s not the first time the city has seen an AC coach; in 2013 two AC coaches named ‘Charoibeti’ and ‘Rupasi Bangla’ were launched offering heritage tours.
It’s being speculated that no other tram has seen the degree of buzz and revenue that this one AC coach has generated since its launch. While the cost of a ride is only 1NR 20, it is still more than double of what the Non-AC coaches charge. It’s quite likely that the trend of AC tram coaches is going to pick up in Kolkata, with more of them being launched in the future.