Bus Service from Kolkata to London & Back in the 60's Would Have Costed Only INR 14K Today

Ever since our travel plans were wrecked by the pandemic, virtual tours turned out to be the saving grace. However, on Thursday, 9th July a not-so-known news story was making rounds on twitter that revealed a report of a London-Calcutta-London bus tour that took place around 60 years ago. Surprised? We were too! 

This news story which originally sprouted on twitter swarmed all social media platforms in no time! It also led fellow netizens to bring out old photographs, and tales of similar overland bus tours.

Tracing the London-Calcutta Bus Tour 

Here goes the saga of the overland bus tour between London-Calcutta- London. Mr. Oswald-Joseph Garrow-Fisher organized the trip in 1957 via a self-owned bus called The Indiaman. Commencing its journey with 20 passengers on board, they ventured out on April 15th, 1957 from London, globetrotting through France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan, finally reaching Calcutta on June 5th. 

The bus then took a trip back home on the 2nd of August 1957 with only seven passengers (five men and two women) on board. Each ticket from London to Calcutta was priced at £85 and £65 for the return journey. They covered a complete journey of 20,300 miles. 

Preserved Testimonials 

The news piece was covered by Calcutta's well-know paper 'The Statesman' that printed a picture of the bus parked on Wood street in Calcutta in 1957 which stated that Mr. Fischer claimed it was the easiest journey he had ever made. 

Whereas the 'New York Times' highlighted the return journey through an article in their newspaper. The article substantiated that Garrow-Fischer said he was not as alarmed by the cliffs and hairpin bends of Mount Ararat region in Turkey as of the ‘narrow roads with soft shoulders and wandering cyclists in India’.

The Indiaman, When the Going was Good by Land and Sea’

If you're intrigued to know more about the journey and desire to know more, a book The Indiaman gives a detailed picture of the sojourn. All thanks to Peter Moss, a passenger on the bus who did not care to return to London but excavate further eastwards by sea to Malaya. He illustrated his journey on the bus with pictures and sketches. 

A website named Old Classis Cars has also archived a photograph of the bus online shows some of the women passengers standing in front of the bus while a crowd of Indian men, women, and children stare in wonderment. 

Other Cross-Continental Journeys 

With the excavation of this news, it was also found that this was not the only cross-continental trip made. Another such trip was carried out between England to Singapore for students hailing from Cambridge and Oxford Universities in Britain. Apparently, this was sponsored by David Attenborough and turned into a black and white documentary.

It is absolutely refreshing to see such travel stories being scooped out of historical memoirs. They are a subtle reminder of the times when traveling was not taken for granted. While globetrotting is so much easier and faster now, bus trips like these must've bought out the beauty of long journeys, holding a different value altogether. Such archives are certainly a breath of fresh air! 

Doesn't this story delight you? Share your views in the comments below!

This post was published by Sony Punjabi

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