Bibliophiles in Kolkata have a unique new place for reading that is an amalgamation of heritage and literature.
In a first, the West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) on Thursday introduced a tram library in the city’s iconic College street area. It will run on the Shyambazar-Esplanade route.
“It is a beautiful and small edition in Kolkata’s literary landscape,” said WBTC Managing Director Rajanvir Singh Kapur.
Another official said, “College Street area is home to the most iconic educational institutions of the City of Joy. To attract students and to reinvigorate the love for trams and reading, this has been introduced.”
The library will have books, magazines and special editions of various competitive examination books to attract readers from various educational institutions along its route. Officials said books would be updated regularly. Commuters will also have access to free Wi-Fi, and authorities also plan to host events such as book launches and book reading sessions. Free pens will be distributed to all passengers in the inaugural week. Also, a tram literature festival has been planned in November.
The launch of the tram library came on a day when services resumed on the Shyambazar-Esplanade route. This is the fifth of the six tram routes, which had been damaged in Cyclone Amphan in May, currently functioning.
Kolkata trams are the oldest running electric trams in Asia. At present, Kolkata is the only Indian city to have a tram network. The vehicles ply on heritage routes, covering several buildings such as Government House, General Post Office, St Andrews Church, the Black Pagoda, Rabindra Bharati campus, Jain Temple, Presidency College, Calcutta University, Ashutosh Museum and Coffee House.
Recently, the WBTC installed art in some trams, depicting how the services began in 1873, and were electrified in 1900. Electric tram cars have been a feature of the city since 1902.
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