The Calcutta Tramways Company (1978) Limited (CTC) is a West Bengal, India, government-run company which runs trams in Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) and buses in and around Kolkata. The Kolkata tram is the oldest operating electric tram in Asia, running since 1902, and currently the only tramway in India.
Horse-drawn trams in Kolkata, India (life-size model at City Centre arcade)
An attempt was made to run a 2.4-mile (3.9 km) tramway service between Sealdah and Armenian Ghat Street on 24 February. The service was not adequately patronised, and was discontinued on 20 Nov.
The Calcutta Tramway Co. Ltd was formed and registered in London on 22 December. Metre-gauge horse-drawn tram tracks were laid from Sealdah to Armenian Ghat via Bowbazar Street, Dalhousie Square and Strand Road. The route was inaugurated by the Viceroy, Lord Ripon, on 1 November.
Steam locomotives were deployed experimentally to haul tram cars. By the end of the nineteenth century the company owned 166 tram cars, 1000 horses, seven steam locomotives and 19 miles of tram tracks.
Electrification of the tramway, and reconstruction of tracks to 4 ft 81⁄2 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge) was begun.
The Kalighat line was extended to Tollygunje, the Esplanade line to Belgachhia (via Bidhan Sarani, Shyambazar), and the Esplanade to Shialdaha route (via Binay Badal Dinesh Bag, Rajib Gandhi Sarani and [present] Mahatma Gandhi Road) opened.
Howrah Station to Bandhaghat route was opened to trams in June. Electrification project completed.
Bowbazar Junction to Binay Badal Dinesh Bag, Ahiritola Junction to Hatibagan Junction routes opened.
Lines to Shibpur via G.T. Road prepared. Esplanade to Shialdaha station via Moula Ali Junction, Moula Ali Junction to Nonapukur, Wattganj Junction to J.Das Park Junction (via Alipur), Mominpur Junction to Behala routes opened.
The Calcutta system was well connected with the Howrah section through the new Howrah Bridge in February. With this extension, the total track length reached 42.0 miles (67.59 km).
The government of West Bengal entered into an agreement with the Calcutta Tramways Company, and the Calcutta Tramways Act of 1951 was enacted. The government assumed all rights regarding the Tramways, and reserved the right to purchase the system (with two years' notice) on 1 January 1972 or any time thereafter.
The Government of West Bengal passed the Calcutta Tramways Company (Taking Over of Management) Act and assumed management on 19 July. On 8 November 1976 the Calcutta Tramways (Acquisition of Undertaking) ordinance was promulgated, under which the company (and its assets) united with the government.
The Howrah sections were closed in October; the 1971/1973 Nimtala route was closed down in May 1973, and realignment of the Howrah Station terminus occurred. Total track length was now reduced to 38 miles (61.2 km).
Tram tracks on Bentinck Street and Ashutosh Mukhopadhyay Road closed for construction of the Kolkata metro; following construction, these stretches were not reopened. Overhead wires were present until 1994 on Bentinck Street. Tracks on Jawaharlal Nehru Road remained after realignment, making a new terminus at Birla Planetarium; the Birla Planetarium route closed in 1991. An overpass was constructed on that road in 2006.
The Sealdah Station terminus (along with the Sealdaha – Lebutala stretch on Bipin Bihari Gangopadhyay Street) closed for construction of an overpass. The site is now occupied by Sealdah Court and a bus terminal.
On 17 April, tracks were extended connecting Manicktola to Ultadanga via Manicktola Main road and C. I. T. Road 3.7 km (2.30 mi). This was the first Tramways extension since 1947.
On 31 December, further extension of tram tracks from Behala to Joka was completed.
Calcutta Tramways Company undertook a new venture by introducing bus service from 4 November, initially with a fleet of 40 buses.
Howrah Station terminus closed and tram tracks removed on Howrah Bridge; the cantilever bridge proved too weak for trams. All routes terminated there were shortened to the Barhabazar (Howrah Bridge) terminus (formerly Barhabazar Junction).
High Court terminus closed for reconstruction of Strand Road. Rails and wires were removed from there and from Strand Road, Hare Street and Shahid Kshudiram Basu Road. The site is now occupied by the newest building of the Kolkata High Court.
Garhiahat Depot – Garhiahat Junction link on Gariahat Road closed for construction of the Gariahat overpass.
Mominpur – Behala stretch on Diamond Harbour Road closed for construction of an overpass at Taratala. Initially, there was a plan to route tracks on that overpass after its completion, but the road was later converted to a National Highway and the plan dismissed. Until 2012, the Behala – Joka stretch was still in existence, along with the Behala terminus.
Wattgunge Junction – Mominpur Diamond Harbour Road, Mominpur – Jatin Das Park Judges Court Road, Jatin Das Park – Kalighat Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Road routes closed for reconstruction. As of October 2011, they have not yet reopened.
Galiff Street terminus realigned. Irregular service from Bagbazar to Galiff Street converted to regular by Route 7/12. Rails and wires removed from part of Bidhan Sarani route (restored by end of year).
Tracks on R. G. Kar Road from Shyambazar five-point crossing to Belgatchia tram depot closed down for reconstruction. As of early 2011, they are not yet restored. Now it was reopened.
Joka-Behala stretch and Behala depot closed down for construction of the Joka-BBD Bag metro project;Ballygunj-Kalighat stretch closed for reconstruction.Lalbazar-Mirjapur down line was closed but up line still opened.
The Calcutta Tramways Company (1978) Ltd had undertaken a new venture by introducing bus service in November 1992. This enabled the CTC (by now a century old) to serve the people of Kolkata and the surrounding rural areas in accord with its tradition of dedication and commitment. Bus service would be an advantageous transport system for the company, as it would be able to access those areas not yet accessible by tram. It would continue the company's tradition of public service, and was expected to be fiscally advantageous. Since the introduction of the first CTC buses, the network has expanded rapidly. With over 40 routes throughout Kolkata and surrounding areas, its efficient service, comfort and smooth ride have won it a loyal ridership. The CTC fleet of buses, with its reputation for safety, reliability and punctuality, complements its tram service.
The initial bus service was introduced from Rajabazar with a fleet of 40 buses, augmented in 1993 with service from Kidderpore depot. The Tollygunge and Belgatchia depots were added in 1994 and 1995, respectively. In 2005, the CTC began bus service from Ghasbagan depot at Howrah.