Calcutta Municipal Railway

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Calcutta Municipal Railway

The Calcutta Municipal Railway was used to carry the refuse of Calcutta to a dumping ground at Dhappa , which was known as the Square Mile. It was six miles east of the city in an area of salt marshes. The line ran from Bag Bazar on the Hooghly River to Circular Road and down its whole length as far as Theatre Road. There were two junctions opposite Dhuttumtollah Street, where the line travelled of east towards the Square Mile. These formed a triangular junction with the Square Mile branch. The line then followed the outfall sewer canal, passing the workshops and shed at Entally. It then carried on passing the drainage pumping station at Tangra and followed the line of the high level sewer, past the Municipal Slaughter House and on to the Square Mile. There were six platforms on the system where refuse was transferred from carts to the railway system [1].

The broad gauge(BG) system opened in 1868 when there was 8 miles(13km) of track. By 1895 there was 23 miles(37km) of track including sidings. On average the system had around 270 ten-ton refuse wagons which made about 39,000 journeys per year to and from the Square Mile by the mid 1920’s.
It is unknown when the system closed, it would appear to be sometime in the mid 1970’s [1].

Other users of the Municipal Railway

As well as carrying the city refuse and offal from the Slaughterhouse, the system was also used [1]:-

  • To deliver road-building materials to various Corporation depots around the system, there were on average 15 wagons used for this purpose
  • Between 1898 and 1905 the Calcutta Storm Water Construction was undertaken by Martin & Company and the system was used for this purpose.
  • Various third parties also used the system and Contractors were encouraged to have building materials delivered via the system.
  • The Calcutta Port Commissioners used the line before they had a connection to the East Bengal Railway(EBR) at Sealdah
  • The EBR used the line for delivery of wagons for onward shipment of goods from the Port


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 “Industrial Railways and Locomotives of India and South Asia” compiled by Simon Darvill. Published by ‘The Industrial Railway Society’ 2013. ISBN 978 1 901556 82-7. Available at Reference: Entry WB65. page ....