They say ‘good old days’ for a reason. For £85 pounds for a single trip fare, a coach service was launched to connect the British Empire’s two most important cities – London and Kolkata. Today it might be like an anecdote but in 1957, it was reality.
First shared by the Facebook group called Kolkata bus-o-pedia the images of such an exciting bus went quickly viral on both Facebook and Twitter. It was a monochrome image showing a queue of happy travellers standing near a coach with LONDON – CALCUTTA – LONDON boldly written on the sides of the bus.
According to the Facebook post, the photo was taken in London’s Victoria Coach Station on 15th April 1957. The passengers were boarding for a maiden voyage of the bus that would travel the world’s longest route on road, starting from London and passing through Belgium, West Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, West Pakistan and then finally reach Calcutta, present-day Kolkata.
The bus was also a luxury one with individual bunks, dining, reading saloon, observation decks, radio, music, and fan heaters, for the days-long cross-country trip. The information page of the trip also highlights important tourist spots including the Taj Mahal, Benaras on the Ganges, and The Rhine Valley among others.
In the photo derived from Fox Photos of Hulton Archive via the world’s most extensive photography library Getty Images. The image was shared by Twitter user Rohit K Dasgupta which went viral with 7k retweets.
Furthermore, the Facebook post also stated Indian travel veterans say there were many such London to Kolkata bus routes in the 60s and 70s. A person on Twitter even went on to find an article by The New York Times reporting the bus service on the world’s longest route. See the Tweets below.
I would *so* do that trip. I’m one of the few people who enjoys the Megabus— Margaret Brown (@MagsTheObscure) June 30, 2020
There were others. In the summer of 1970 I took a bus from Kabul to Munich. I think it took 13 days.— Thomas E. Ricks (@tomricks1) June 29, 2020
Absolutely insane and fascinating— Melanie Renzulli (@melanierenzulli) June 30, 2020
I’m totally sold on this. They should bring it back! 😂 @gemmagoesglobal— Faye Wild (@FayeWild8) June 30, 2020
Digging further! pic.twitter.com/kDxFU3KDYk— Rahim Sajan (@RahimSajan) June 30, 2020
What do you think? Would you travel from Kolkata to London if a similar coach service is announced? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.