TRAMJATRA 2001 in Kolkata

Tramjatra 2001 was a 3 month affair. It all kicked off in late January when Roberto D'Andrea arrived in Kolkata with Mike McGuffike from track junction manufacturer Davies and Baird.

Davies and Baird have had a long association with the Melbourne Tramways from its beginnings in 1885 with the first Melbourne Cable Car Network. Mike came as part of the Tramjatra Technical exchange.

The Kolkata Tramways greatest problem was the poor state of tracks across the network so Tramjatra part funded Mike McGuffike's visit to encourage track renewal. Mike shared information with Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC) senior management and Public Works Dept (PWD) officials. He did an audit of track and costed the replacement of the 3 way Wellington Junction at College Street and Lenin Sarani.

Next Mick Douglas arrived in Kolkata in early February with a mob of students and teachers from RMIT University, ex-trammies and artists. They joined with local Bengali artists and filmakers to add Kolkata and Melbourne colour to tram stops and terminals and to create the first of 4 decorated trams. Tramjatra Tram 628 from Gariahat Depot was launched on Wednesday February 21 at the central Esplanade Tram Terminal.

A further 3 trams where decorated. Sundari Sunrise Tram 649 from Tollygunge Depot. Cricket Tramsport Tram 725 from Park Circus Depot and Baccha Childrens Tram 715, also from Park Circus Depot. All 4 trams where decorated in collaboration with enthusiastic CTC trammies in depot sheds.

Tramjatra 2001 also hosted a friendship Cricket match between the Abbotsford Anglers Cricket Club and the CTC. Calcutta's schools where invited to tour tram depots and an Australian Rail and Tram enthusiasts group from the Darjeeling Historic Rail Society where invited to tour the Nonapukur Workshops. Tramjatra 2001 gave the Kolkata Tramways a 'negative image break'. Across the 3 months the West Bengali and Indian media, including newspapers,  television and radio, covered the tramjatras. With 4 friendship trams touring the CTC system-wide, trams where very much in the public eye.

For more information about the Mick Douglas and RMIT collaboration between artists from Kolkata and Melbourne tramjatra in early - mid February go to www.tramtactic.net