The first streetcar service began in Calcutta in 1873. These early trams were horse-drawn. This system was converted to electricity by 1905 and is the oldest operating electric tram system in Asia. Some 170 streetcars are in operation each day. Most are battered and well worn from many years of hard service plying the clogged streets of Calcutta.
From the Calcutta Tramways Company web site:
Really indeed, Tram lends Kolkata an old world charm and add to the romantic element to the city.This slow moving ,electrical reptile in narrow and crowded streets completes the ultimate attraction of the city. Having glided down the rails as a historian witness,Tram has itself been turned into an immemorial heritage for which the whole Kolkatans will be proud of.
Riding these “electrical reptiles” was one of the highlights of my visit to Calcutta. The Streetcars of Calcutta is a gallery of images I made during a pleasant morning while riding the famous trams. Since the rails are in the middle of many of the city’s streets, the trolleys are not immune to Calcutta’s horrendous traffic congestion, although one feels somehow removed from the city’s hustle and bustle while riding a bit of history.