Calcutta 1996 - Melbourne Calcutta Tramways Friendship

Melbourne and Calcutta are two of the rare surviving tramway systems of continuous operation outside of Europe.

In October 1996 South Melbourne Tram Depot Conductor / Driver Roberto D'Andrea undertook a self-funded 5 week visit to Calcutta in spirit of friendship and support for the Calcutta Tramways under threat of closure. He landed in Calcutta in late September 1996 with a travelling tram show.

A travelling tram show complete with W Class tram destination rolls to hang on the interior of trams and an exhibition of photos from Melbourne and Calcutta that shone a positive light on trams. Posters with messages on the environmental benefits of trams and Malcolm Just's tram poetry translated into Bengali.

As a part of his visit Roberto was granted the opportunity to perform as a Melbourne Conductor on four Calcutta Tramways Company's (CTC) trams. Together with Calcutta's CTC trammies from depots in Belgatchia, Kidderpore, Park Circus & Gariahat he lined the interior of trams with an exhibition and poetry that explored the tramways cultures of Melbourne and Calcutta. Dressed in his short pants and long socks MET green summer uniform with conductors bag, he 'performed as a connie' alongside CTC Tram Conductors. ABC television from Australia came along for the ride. Reporter Edmund Roy prepared a postcard for the international television program 'Foreign Correspondant'. A 'U Tube' of the program is in the video section.

The Melbourne tram friendship visit was warmly received by the Calcuttan public, CTC trammies, management & union. The Tram Conductor from Melbourne was the subject of numerous articles in Calcutta's print and television media, and seems to have acted as a catalyst in furthering the effort to retain and improve the Calcutta Tramways.

Trams Decorated : Belgatchia Tram 349 - Kidderpore Tram Depot Tram 329 - Park Circus Depot Tram 340 - Gariahat Tram 498 - Elephant Tram.