Agra Tramway

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The Agra Tramway was an experimental stone paved tramway constructed before 1846 in Agra, using animals pulling carts that ran on the stone sets and operating over a distance of 6250 feet (1.9 km) from near the eastern gate of Government House.

In 1854 a proposal to extend the tramway a further 1.5 miles (2.4km) to the Customs House was put forward, together with suggestions concerning changing to iron rails or continuing with stone.

There is no record as yet found that this experiment was continued.


History

In 1846 Assistant Collector P B Reid was asked to report on the experimental tramway at Agra [1]. The city was described that its “ways are so constricted by houses and ravines” [2]. The tramway had been constructed using stone from the Taj and Nusool buildings that were falling down [3]. The problem using these stones was the inconsistency in their size.

The construction of the tramway was from near the eastern gate of Government House, through the Loha Kee-Mundee to the great Civil line road opposite Moozuffer Khan’s Baga, a length of 6250 feet (1.9km) long. Built 5 feet (1.5 metres) wide so that the wheels of the animal pulled carts ran along the stone sets. They were held in place on a foundation of brick and mortar the area between the tracks were brick and earth topped with Kankar (a calcium carbonate cement) at the joints were stone sleepers. The previous year money had been put aside for drainage and compensation for property that had to be pulled down to allow the building of the tramway [4].

The carters known as Garreewans were very complimentary about the tramway and wished it went all the way to the Customs house another 1.5 miles (2.4km) [5]. It was proposed that this should happen. The chief engineer put forward stone as the base where as the Magistrate put forward a change to iron rails. It also was suggested that an extension to the quarries at Futtehpore Sieri or Jugnair would also cut costs, also that this extension would also have financial benefits to the community [6]. The cost of the materials for the extension would be Rs4,722 per mile. [7].

Records

The India Office Records (IOR) records held at the British Library relating to this tramway give the following Catalogue References :--

  • IOR/Z/E/4/19/T689; “Tramways, lengthening of Agra tram road in vicinity of Government House”; 1846-1849
  • IOR/Z/E/4/25/R831; “Roads, Agra, Reconstruction of stone paved and tramway leading to Customs House”; 1854-1855.

These led to the specific references quoted.

Further Information

See Early Railway Experiments and Proposals for more information and background.

References

  1. British Library IOR/V/23/116 Vo1 PT 2 no8; Page 76
  2. Ibid Page 80
  3. Ibid Page 78
  4. British Library IOR/E/4/829; Page 1389
  5. British Library IOR/V/23/116 Vo1 PT 2 no8; Page 76
  6. Ibid Page 80
  7. Ibid Page 78