Wednesday 29, June 2022

By road from Kolkata to London: world's longest journey

A black and white picture, with a bus and the presence of some people. This is a picture of a bus going from London to Calcutta in 1956 which gave an opportunity to know about the transport system of that time. It is said to be the longest road route in the world by road from London to Kolkata.

At present it takes about 16-17 hours to reach Kolkata by air from London. Once upon a time it took about 50 days to cross this road by road.

By 1956, London and Calcutta were important cities in many ways. Oswald Joseph Garrow Fisher, a 40-year-old Englishman, owned and operated the bus. He named the bus 'Indiaman'.

The bus started its journey with passengers in April 1956 and started its journey from Victoria Coach Station to Kolkata.

The bus started its journey with a total of 20 passengers (2 female and 5 male passengers returned to London in the same bus). The bus started its journey from London on 15 April 1956 and reached Calcutta on 5 June. The reason for the long delay is that the bus lost its way in an area between Iran and Turkey, although there is no conclusive argument in favor of this claim.

The bus route was a lot like this - starting from London and reaching Kolkata via Belgium, West Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, West Pakistan, Agra, Allahabad, Banaras in India. A total of 16 countries had to be crossed on the journey.

At that time every border country gladly accepted the use of this bus, there were no such restrictions on border issues as there are now.

After a long journey from London to Calcutta, the bus crew was given a long break. After a long break of about 1 month, he would return. The bus had to cover about 20,304 miles in 110 days to complete a round trip from London to Kolkata and from Kolkata to London.

A photo of the bus parked on Wood Street after arriving in Kolkata from London was published in The Statesman, a newspaper in Kolkata at the time.

In an interview with The Statesman, 8-year-old passenger Mrs. J. "It was a wonderful journey for me," said Scooter. But on the way, I was disturbed by only one thing. During the break in the famous cities, I was annoyed by the numerous questions of the representatives of different newspapers. ”

Peter Moss, another 22-year-old bus passenger, arrived in Kolkata from London and returned to Malaya by sea without returning to England. A book containing his diaries, photographs and sketches written during the trip was later published. The title of the book is The Indianman - When the Going Was Good by Land and the Sea. The full details of the journey from London to Calcutta are found in this book.

According to a report in the New York Times, the fare on this bus was about 150 pounds sterling at the time (the fare from London to Kolkata was 75 pounds sterling and the return fare was 75 pounds sterling). The cost of food was included in this fare. Needless to say, at that time most of the passengers of this bus were rich people of the society.

This luxurious bus has a number of facilities for passengers to enjoy long journeys, such as separate sleeping arrangements, books, reading magazines, listening to music on radio and tape recorder, fan, heater and meals. The slogan of the bus was, 'Your Complete Home While You Travel'.

Occasionally on the way to visit various places of interest in India, such as the famous mausoleum Taj Mahal, the banks of the Ganges in Banaras, the highways of the Rhine Valley, such as the Peak Throne.

Passengers were also given time to shop in New Delhi, Tehran, Kabul, Istanbul and Vienna.

According to the Central Western Daily, the bus crashed several years later, causing severe damage and disqualification. Andy Stewart, a British tourist working in Sydney, bought the bus in 1986 and renovated it to a double decker bus. The lower deck of the bus had dining and reading area and the upper deck had separate sleeping bunk with fan and heater. Andy Stewart also renamed the bus - 'Albert'.

According to the High Road for Oz, Albert first sailed from Sydney to London on October 6, 1968 with 13 passengers on board.

Albert served passengers on this route from Sydney to London and from Kolkata to London until about 1986. During this time he completed 4 trips on Sydney to London route and about 15 trips on London to Kolkata route.

The bus service was shut down in 1978 due to the Iran crisis and a slight deterioration in India-Pakistan relations.


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