Did you know? The metro in Kolkata has been operational for almost 40 years! It was here that India’s first metro ran, back in 1984, on October 24th. What makes this even more incredible is that the next Indian city to get a metro rail was Delhi, over 20 years later!
Let’s take a stroll through history, and find out all about the Kolkata Metro!
Kolkata Metro — Just an Idea.
The story goes as far back as 1919, decades before Independence. In September ‘19, the Imperial Legislative Council held a session in Shimla. Here, a metro line was proposed for Kolkata. The proposal included the route for the metro, as well as the fare (3 annas). However, it was shelved in 1923 owing to a lack of funds.
Fast-forward to 1949 — India had gained independence and it was a new era. Bidhan Chandra Roy was the Chief Minister of West Bengal. The idea of a metro line in Kolkata had resurfaced. Traffic in Kolkata was a problem, and all efforts until then hadn’t really made a big difference. Alas, it wasn’t taken forward and once again, the Kolkata Metro remained just an idea.
The Idea Becomes Reality, at Last.
In 1969, the Metropolitan Transport Project (MTP) was formed. It was then that the Kolkata Metro had finally started becoming a reality. The MTP was determined to find a solution to Kolkata’s infamous traffic. Along with Soviet specialists, Lemetroproekt and East German engineers, they began to plan the Kolkata Metro.
They created a plan which included five metro lines. The total length of these five lines was almost 100km. Out of these five lines, three were given the go-ahead:
1. Dum Dum to Tollygunge
2. Bidhannagar to Ramrajatala
3. Dakshineswar to Thakurpukur
The first line that work began on was the one from Dum Dum to Tollygunge. This route had the highest traffic and needed a Metro the most. The Prime Minister at the time, Indira Gandhi, laid the foundation stone for the project on 29th December 1972.
What Happened Next?
- After overcoming many hurdles, in October 1984, the first stretch of this line was ready for operations. This was a 3.4km stretch from Esplanade to Bhowanipur. It was also the very first metro rail that operated in India.
- Within a month, another stretch between Dum Dum and Belgachhia was completed.
- By April 1986, the total distance covered by the line had gone up to 9.79km, with 11 functional metro stations.
- Two more sections were opened in August ‘94.
- In October 1994, the stretch from Esplanade to Chandni Chowk was authorised for construction.
- A 1.93km stretch from Shyambazaar to Girish Park and a 0.6km stretch from Chandni Chown to Central were started in February ‘95.
- Finally, on 27th September 1995, the entire first line was completed. This was just over 20 years since the first stretch was completed.
- Since its completion, the line has been extended multiple times. The total length of the line is 31.36km today. The latest addition to the line was opened as recently as February 2021.
More Metro Lines in Kolkata
Once the North-South corridor was completed, plans of the East-West corridor finally began brewing. After the project was sanctioned in 2008, the foundation stone was laid in ‘09. This line is still under construction and is to connect Kolkata to Howrah. Almost 6km of this line is supposed to be underwater, stretching across the Hooghly river.
Currently, the East-West corridor has seven operational stations, stretching across 7.2km. The total length of the project is supposed to be 16.5km.
The Kolkata Metro has seen its fair share of hurdles along the way. It’s still ways from being completed. It is and always will be a part of India’s history. A metro that has been in the making for over a century now. A metro that came decades before any other city in India. It’s one for the books.
A lot has changed over the years. In 2021, Tummoc was launched in Kolkata. Now, commuting via the metro is a breeze. All you’ve to do is download Tummoc, check train timings, routes and fares, and leave all your worries to us!
We’re here to give you any and all commute information! What would you like us to write about next? Let us know in the comments 🙂