Kolkata to London Used To Be The World’s Longest Bus Route

Samuel Reason

Back in the 1960s, there used to be a bus running from Kolkata, known as Calcutta back then, all the way to London. That means it drove from India to the United Kingdom. It was a trip known as Albert Tours, as the double-decker bus was colloquially referred to as Albert. It was for a long time the world’s longest ever bus route. Not to mention it would cost you £145 to travel one way between the two cities. During that time, it would have been a considerable amount of money.

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The bus would actually start its journey in Sydney to travel to London via India. Usually setting out with about 15 passengers it was a journey of 16,000 kilometers that would last an average of 135 days. Amazingly the bus route would go through 14 other countries during its route: Belgium, West Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, West Pakistan, India, Burma, Thailand, Malaya, and Singapore.

And when the bus drove through India, it would go all through the major hubs such as Delhi, Agra, Allahabad, Benaras, and Kolkata. The ticket also included the cost of food and accommodation during the journey. Apparently, the Albert Bus Tour was seen as a luxury trip, for example, the lower level had a reading and dining lounge. And the upper front deck had space for an observation lounge.

Additionally, the bus contained a fully equipped kitchen along with music for parties. There were fan heaters in the bus and individual sleeping bunks. In fact, one of the marketing slogans for the bus during the 60s was “A home away from home.”

Of course, being a tour, the bus would drive through major tourist destinations such as the Golden Horn of Istanbul. Or even the Peacock Throne of Delhi or the Caspian Sea coast. The package even made time for shopping days in places such as Tehran, Vienna, or New Delhi. Amazingly the Albert Tour ran without any problems until it ended its service in 1976. In total, the bus had made over 150 border crossings without any problems. It even earned itself a special status as a Friendly Ambassador for most of the nations it drove through.

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