Saturday, April 12, 2008

Madras - Calcutta : Memory link - trams

This day that year is one of my favourite columns in The Hindu. It tells you about an interesting event that happened fifty years back.
Here's one that happened 55 years ago in Chennai - 1953 April 12: Madras trams stop operating.
I came across this accidentally when I was searching for a science related info on NCSTC.
I have heard about tramways in Chennai. My dad used to narrate the experience of travelling on it, just to spend the day when he was in Madras on job search. The very thought of a 'train' on rails in the middle of a road was beyond my imagination till I happened to see one in Calcutta. (We saw it on the day we stooped over while travelling to Madras from Patna in 1992!)
The bell, the overhead wires, the slow movement that any fit person could easily jump into it while it was on the move were part of dad's stories.The side story was that the buses ran on charcoal power, at that time and a very few preferred to travel by buses! Trams ran on electric power!
When I googled for more info on Madras trams, I stumbled upon this article of nice memories by R. Ganapathy. You will also surely enjoy it.

1 comment:

himanshu damle said...

I was always faced with the dubious information about the first city in the country to have trams: the choices being Bombay, Calcutta and Madras: of which, many citations talked about Bombay earning the distinction of being the first, whereas one citation (I cannot exactly recollect the source) did give the distinction to Madras (Calcutta never really getting a name on the firsts). Your link has indeed given me a series of hyperlinks that have helped me discover the importance of trams in Madras and indeed, Madras Electric Tramways had the first ELECTRIC TRAMS in the country, whereas Bombay had a regular use of horse driven cars.
Is it possible to locate the route maps of the trams in the city in the early part of its history?
Thank you.

himanshu damle