Transport System in West Bengal


Transport System in West Bengal

This is the ninth topic under the West Bengal Geography Notes for WBCS Module. The links to the previous chapters are listed below:

  1. Introduction to West Bengal Geography
  2. Physiographic divisions of West Bengal
  3. Rivers of West Bengal
  4. Soil and Climate of West Bengal
  5. Mineral Resources of West Bengal
  6. National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries in West Bengal
  7. Agriculture in West Bengal
  8. Irrigation and Hydropower Projects in West Bengal

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Transport System in West Bengal

  • The total length of road in West Bengal is 92,223 Kilometres (57,180 miles). 
  • Among these national highways are 2,377 kilometers (1,477 miles), and state highways 2,393 kilometers (1,487 miles).
  • The road density of the state is 103.69 kilometers per 100 square kilometers
  • The national density is 74.7 kilometers per 100 square kilometers
  • The average speed of the road in the state is between 40-50 kilometers/hour.
  • The speed in the village and urban areas is between 20-25 kilometers/hour.
  • The total length of the railway line in the state is 3,825 kilometers (2,377 miles).
  • Indian Railway’s Eastern Railway zone and South Eastern Railway zone headquarters are located in Kolkata.
  • Kolkata Metro is India’s first underground metro rail service.
  • The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, part of the Northeast Frontier Railway, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The expressway is the fastest communication system in this state. The main expressway of West Bengal is the Durgapur Expressway, Kalyani Expressway, Kona Expressway, and Belghoria Expressway.
  • National Highway 19 (National Highway 2) has moved from Kolkata to Delhi.
  • National Highway No. 6 passes through Kolkata from Kharagpur to Surat and Mumbai.
  • National Highway No. 4 connects North Bengal with South Bengal.
  • Currently, the expansion of National Road No. 34 Road work is progressing in four lanes.
  • National Highway No. 35 with Kolkata, Habra, Chandpara Petrapole Port of Bongaon on the border city well connected.
  • Among other national highways, notable number – 31 no., No. 55, no. 60 no., No. 31 no., No. 31, 177, 116 no., Among them, the national road connecting Haldia port with Middheda was added to the national road. 6, and 60 National Road Gold Quadrilateral Road Project.
  • Apart from this, National Highway No. 31 is part of the North-South and East-West Corridor.
  • There are more than 15 state roads in West Bengal. The Government of West Bengal is constructing North-South Road Corridor for fast communication with Haldia port with North Bengal.

Bus service

  • The bus is a very inevitable mode of transport for most people in West Bengal
  • The rent of West Bengal buses is very affordable. With a lot of stops in the middle, it’s a very convenient way to travel.

Rail transport

  • The total railway route length is around 4,481 km. Kolkata is the headquarters of three zones of the Indian Railways — Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway and the Kolkata Metro which is the newly formed 17th Zone of the Indian Railways.
  • The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) plies in the northern parts of the state.
  • The Kolkata Metro is the country’s first underground railway.
  • The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, part of NFR, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kolkata Metro (India’s First Metro Railway)

  • With the opening of the Metro Railways in Kolkata on October 24, 1984, India became the fifth country in Asia and the 82nd in the world, to possess the prestigious Underground Railways System.
  • Metro rail facilities were made available to passengers commuting from Dum Dum to Belgachia in the north and from Esplanade to Bhawanipur in the south in November 1984.
  • On April 28, 1986, the Esplanade-Bhawanipur section was extended by another 4.0 km. up to Tollyganj, the southern terminus.
  • It has 17 stations including the Terminals at Dum Dum and Tollyganj. While the two terminals, viz., Dum Dum, and Tollyganj are on the surface, the remaining 15 stations will be underground.

Trams in Kolkata

  • The tram system in the city of Kolkata, West Bengal, India, operated by West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) after Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC) was dissolved, is the only tram network operating in India.
  • Being the oldest operating electric tram system in Asia, it has been running since 1902.
  • The first horse-drawn trams in India ran for 2.4 miles (3.9 km) between Sealdah and Armenian Ghat Street on 24 February 1873.
    • The route was inaugurated by the Viceroy, Lord Ripon.
  • The first electric tramcar in India ran from Esplanade to Kidderpore on 27 March 1902.
  • In 1951, the government of West Bengal entered an agreement with the Calcutta Tramways Company, and the Calcutta Tramways Act of 1951 was enacted.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

  • The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known as the DHR or the Toy Train, is a 2 ft. (610 mm) gauge railway that runs between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling in the Indian state of West Bengal.
  • Built between 1879 and 1881, it is about 88 km (55 mi) long. 
  • On 2 December 1999, UNESCO declared the DHR a World Heritage Site.
  • Ghum, the line’s summit, is India’s highest station. The station building includes a first-floor museum, with larger exhibits in the old goods yard.

Airways in West Bengal

  • Kolkata is well connected to the rest of India and all other prime locations of the world by the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport.
  • There is another airport at Bagdogra, which links Siliguri with the important destinations within the country.
  • The importance of Bagdogra airport has increased with Siliguri becoming the gateway to the North Eastern States and a vital trade and logistics hub for the entire region.

Some of the important airports in West Bengal are as follows:

Kolkata:  Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport

  • Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport is the only international airport in Kolkata.
  • It was inaugurated in 1924 and since then, it has served as the international terminal for all the North-eastern states of India.

Behala Airport, Balurghat Airport, Cooch Behar Airport, Bagdogra Airport

  • Bagdogra Airport is a domestic airport in Bagdogra city, which is about 14 km from the city of Siliguri.
  • The airport had earlier served as a base for the Air Force of India. After the Air Force shifted its base to Hasimara, in the Dooars region of North Bengal, the airport was allowed to run domestic flights.
  • Bagdogra Airport serves as an important base for those who desire to access the northeastern states of India.


  • Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport (India’s first Aerotropolis and first privately managed airport, located in Andal (a sub-div of Durgapur, Asansol) developed by Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Limited. West Bengal’s second-largest airport.)

Waterways in West Bengal

  • The Government of India has declared the entire stretch of Ganges between Haldia and Allahabad as National Waterway (NW1).
  • The 560 km Haldia – Farakka stretch of NW1 in West Bengal will be developed as a part of the multimodal system for cargo tariff from Nepal, Bhutan, North Bengal & North Eastern States. 
  • The Kolkata Port Trust manages the Kolkata and the Haldia docks.
  • There is passenger service to Port Blair on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and cargo ship service to ports in India and abroad, operated by the Shipping Corporation of India.
  • The ferry is a principal mode of transport in the southern part of the state, especially in the Sundarbans area.
  • Kolkata is the only city in India to have trams as a mode of transport and these are operated by the Calcutta Tramways Company.

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