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Monday, January 1, 2018

Tram road in Triplicane ~ trams dubbed as slower than walk in Dublin

The roads in Triplicane are narrow and traffic often get struck … Big Street at places is in fact a small lane…  the road that runs from D1 Police Station in Wallajah road to D3 Police station in Ice House is – Triplicane High Road (renamed as Quaide Milleth Road) …. Old timers would refer this to as ‘Tram road’ ….yes, a unique form of transport that existed more than 7 decades ago. 

A tram (tramcar) is a rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public roads.  Tram transport in India was established by the British in the 19th century ~  the first electric tram service was started in Madras in 1895 and went out of reckoning in 1953 in Chennai – it however, still continues to run in Kolkatta even now. The earlier trams were reportedly horse-drawn. The one that were running in Madras (as also the ones seen in Kolkatta) run on electric and have overhead traction lines. 

The description as given by those who occasioned to travel by tram – was that they moved very slowly – sort of people can enter and get down whilst it was moving ….those perhaps were days when the life itself was leisurely paced – not the ones that you see in OMR or mad drive to Pondy in ECR – and those were the days, when you had little traffic on roads – not much of two wheelers and auto-rickshaws … more used public transport and most of them waited patiently – in fact thinking of people going by Pallavan Transport – people used to wait for a single bus on that route and would not even explore much of possibilities of going to a place with better connectivity – Beach, HighCourt, Parrys, Sowcarpet –  Central, Egmroe - Triplicane, Mylapore, T Nagar, Guindy …. Some prominent places which were well connected …..

This form of transportation had commenced in May 1895 run by  Madras Tramways Company and the trams had  six cars.  Reportedly after Independence, it was a  strike by workers who demanded wage revision led to a lockout. Subsequently, Chief Minister C. Rajagopalachari favoured the idea of ending the service, bringing the curtains down on 67 years of its run.  Those rails on which the trams ran remained for many more years – and subsequently Govt. found a contractor for the removal too.  The snail travel at around 7 kmph when came to creeching halt would have left hundreds unemployed. 

Miles away, Dublin's Luas Cross City tram line has taken four years to complete – the £324million tram line takes passengers across the city centre; but, Dublin's latest tram line has been accused of causing traffic chaos since it opened last week, and now it has been found that a part of the journey is speedier on foot.  An investigation by the Irish Sun found that a nine-minute journey through central Dublin took just over seven-and-a-half minutes to walk. The cross-city trams have been accused of causing traffic jams and blocking cyclists, buses and cars, which in turn has made commuters' life hell. Many residents have taken to social media to air their grievances, with some accusing the local government of wasting money.

The Irish capital's first non-horse tram line came into service in 1872. At its peak it the tracks ran for some 37miles, through the city centre and out to South Dublin suburbs. After car and bus travel became more popular, the city decided to abandon the trams and dig up most of the tracks. The last Dublin tram ran on July 9 1949. After decades of tram-free streets,  a 1994 local government report suggested that a new tram system be built and two lines were approved in 1998.

A search on trams led to a court case of 1956  between the State  Of Madras and Madras Electric Tramways (1904).  The case referred to an agreement of 1907  between the Madras Electric Supply Corporation Ltd., and the Madras Electric Tramways Ltd.  Where  the former agreed to supply and the latter agreed to receive electrical energy required by the latter.   The entire energy supplied was to be charged as a whole; at a tapering rate, the rate becoming lower as the quantity of the current taken became higher. There was a clause providing for revision of the rates at the instance of either party, after the expiration of every period of 7 years from the date of the agreement, by three months' notice in writing. An engineer appointed by the President of the Institution of Eiectrical Engineers in England was to determine what the revised rate, if any, should be. The agreement also contained an Arbitration clause were any disputes were   to be determined by a single arbitrator to be appointed on the application of either party by the President of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in England.

        The Government filed C. S. No. 368 of 1953 on the Original Side of Madras High Court  against the Madras Tramway company on 30th October 1953, for recovering Rs. 9,26,186-2-3, the alleged arrears due, with subsequent interest and costs, and for a declaration that it was entitled to a first charge over the assets of the first defendant and to priority in respect of the decree amount, and for declaring that it was entitled to priority of payments out of the assets of the first defendant in preference to all its other debts and liabilities, and, in default of payment of the same, for the sale of the entire assets of the first defendant, the Tramway company, including the specific and floating security in favour of the debenture holders.

The Tramway company ceased to take electric supply from 11th  April 1953.  Its affairs went from bad to worse, and liquidation proceedings were instituted in Dec  1953.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
15th Dec 2017.


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