ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Trams in Mumbai: an Unforgettable Relic

Updated on December 22, 2017

The Beginning

The British treated Bombay (Now Mumbai) with a great deal of love and affection. Earlier it was a Portuguese colony, but was given as a gift in dowry to the king of England by the Portuguese when their princess Catherine of Braganza married Charles II of England in 1661. From that year it became a part of English possessions.

The English developed the island city of Mumbai and connected it by rail to all parts of India. Bombay became the Gateway of India and almost all Englishmen landed in Mumbai at Apollo Bundar and then proceeded to the hinterland.

In 1874, the British introduced the horse-drawn tram. This was immensely popular. The line was laid in the center of a metalled road and the trams were pulled by horses. They were slow moving affairs, but they helped people commute from one place to another. These horse-drawn trams were the city of Bombay's first brush with modernization.

Horse drawn trams outsid eBombay VT Rail Station
Horse drawn trams outsid eBombay VT Rail Station
Types of trams
Types of trams

The First Trams

The popularity of the tram increased. In those days there were two sets of trams, one for the locals and one for the English. In 1907 after 33 years of horse-drawn trams, the electric tram was introduced, just after they were introduced in London. The first electric tram thus ran after 33 years and about 108 years from the present time. The electric trams ran under a new company formed by the English called the Bombay Electric Supply and Transport Company (BEST). All trams were painted red in color, similar to ones in London. The initial trams had 2 compartments, a first class, and a general class, but the classes of trams were soon abolished. The tram line was laid from Bori Bundar to Sion and the trams took about an hour and a half to cover this distance of about 30 km.

The British also introduced the double-decker tram and these were very popular. The double-decker trams were introduced in 1920 and were imported from England.The earlier trams were more like open seats, but later trams were fully enclosed. The trams were extremely popular and helped the city of Bombay go ahead and develop a world image. Trams were also introduced by the English in Delhi and Calcutta (where they still run).

The fare was cheap and the tram thus became very popular. It was a substitute mode of transportation to the city bus and the local suburban train. The best part was as these trams ran on electricity, pollution was zero.

The trams were all imported from England and put on the rails in India. Along with double deck trams, the normal single coupled tram cars were also used. These trams had one driver and along with him 2 conductors who dished out tickets and collected money. The electric tram ran right through the days of the Raj and when the British left in 1947, the trams were still running. The BEST company ran the trams efficiently and the routes were well serviced.

Double decker trams ran from 1910-64
Double decker trams ran from 1910-64
Double decker trams ran from 1910-64
Double decker trams ran from 1910-64

The Demise of the Tram

When India became free from British rule in 1947, the new civic and state government of Mumbai inherited the tram structure. As the city was expanding and there was no place to widen the roads an expert committee was constituted to advise on methods of removing road congestion. The committee in a short-sighted recommendation proposed that trams be abolished and replaced by electric trolley buses.

The findings of the committee were accepted by the state government and a decision was taken to discontinue all tram services after 1964. The last tram ran at 10 pm on 31st March 1964 and all trams went off the road. For a short time, electric trolley buses were introduced and some buses were imported from Sweden, but the exercise failed and they were taken off the roads as well.

The removal of the trams was something that did not go down well with sections of the city population. Trams were also discontinued in Delhi. However, trams continued in Calcutta and even now in the 21st century, Calcutta trams traverse the city.

The trams in Mumbai were part of a historical link and Mahatma Gandhi also traveled by tram. Later many experts faulted the government on their decision, but now with greater congestion on the roads, the chance that the trams will come back is very remote. However as and when the trams ran, Mumbai city had a different look and many are nostalgic for the days the trams ran.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Thank you DDE, sweet of you to comment

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Interesting and informative with lovely photos. Trams are used in Zagreb the capital of Croatia.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Thank you Manatita, for commenting. In India trams are still used to good effect in Calcutta

    • manatita44 profile image


      2 years ago from london

      Yes, Britain did some good things, one being the language as this has caused Indians to be able to communicate much more. Trams are still super-excellent in my book. Germany uses them to great effect.

      Knowledgeable and educational hub, Emge.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)