Calcutta Water Supply - Pulta & Tallah Tramways

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Calcutta Water Supply - Pulta & Tallah Tramways


Pulta Waterworks opened in 1864 to supply Calcutta with large quanties of high quality water drawn from the Hughli(Hoogly) River approximately 24 km north of the city. The works were designed to supply 6 million gallons(27,000 M3) of filtered water per day to a population estimated at 4000,000 persons. The 350 HP engines at the river bank of the Pulta were used to lift the water into large masonry tanks [1]

Tallah Tank in Calcutta The water was passed to the through a 42 inch(148cm) cast iron pipe by gravity alone with a fall of about 11.5 inches per mile (18cm per km) [1]. The tank was completed in about 1909 and is said to be the world's largest overhead reservoir, supported by steel girders, 110 feet (33 metres) from the ground and holdiing 9 million gallons(4,000 M3) of water [2].


Pulta Construction Tramway
An 1867 report states that the works had a 400 foot(120 metre) long tramway for the delivery of materials from the jetty to the works. Nothing further is known about this system except it may have been it metre gauge(MG)[3].

Pulta-Tallah Pipeline Construction Tramway From June 1884 a 4 foot (48 inch external diameter - 42 inch internal diameter referred to above) water main was laid from the Pulta Waterworks to Tallah. To assist with this a 2ft/610mm narrow gauge(NG) 'John Fowler' portable tramway was installed and in use until March 1886. It consisted of 14 miles(22km) of track, locomotives, trucks and trolleys. The trains usually operated with six trucks each loaded with one pipe weighing 3½ - 4 tons[3].

Pulta Sand Haulage Tramway With the completion of the pipeline completed 3 miles of track, the locomotives and some of the trucks were retained at Pulta for carrying river sand to and from the filter beds. The remaining eqipment was advertised for sale. It is assumed the filter bed system kept operating as from 1922 a new NG locomotive, followed by new wagons and track were supplied[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Google Books "Rabbinic Creativity in the Modern Middle East" page 20 by Zvi Zohar; Retrieved 10 Mar 2017
  2. The Beacon Calcutta "The Reservoir of Ingratitude - Tallah Tank"; Retrieved 10 Mar 2017
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 “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 WB66 page ....