Transport System in West bengal

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 13th, 2023

The basic function of transportation is the transfer of messages and information, i.e. in communication. It is also needed for the rapid movement of troops in case of emergency and final movement of persons and goods. Public transport essentially helps scale up economic activities and prosper the economy of a region.

West Bengal has a dense network of roadways, railways and well-coordinated waterways. India’s first metro rail started in this state. The State has well-developed transport and communication facilities.

Transport System of West Bengal

West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) renders transport services within Kolkata and its suburban areas.

  • South Bengal State Transport Corporation (SBSTC) looks after transport services in the districts of South and South-Western Bengal. In contrast, transport facilities in the regions of North Bengal are primarily dependent on North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC).
  • Transport System of the state involves a. Road Transport, b. Rail Transport, c. Air Transport and d. Water Transport

Road Transport

  • The West Bengal Surface Transport corporation, established in 1989, is responsible for operating bus service in the state.
  • The state has strategic relevance and connects the Indian Mainland to North-East India by roadways.
  • Corporation and South Bengal State Transport corporation are State Transport undertakings in West Bengal that provide surface transport in the state.

The major types of roads running in the state are National Highways, State Highways, District roads and Border roads.


National Highways

National Highway Authority of India

State Highways and District Roads

West Bengal Government

Border roads

Border Roads Organization


  • As per the National Highway Authority of India, the total length of national highways in West Bengal is 3664.5 km (till November 2018).
  • NH34 is the longest national highway in the state with a length of 438.3 km.
  • The total length of the state highways in West Bengal is 4505km. SH4 is the longest state highway between Jhalda and Digha with a distance of 466 km.
  • SH4A is the smallest state highway between Tulin and Chas with a length of 39 km.


These are 6-8 lane highways with controlled access to entry and exit. Two expressways are developed near Kolkata.

  1. Kolkata-Durgapur Expressway

This expressway is 65 km long and is presently two-lane highway. It connects Dankuni to Palsit and provides much shorter and faster route from Kolkata to Durgapur.

  1. Kona Expressway

It is an 8km stretch that provides easy access to Kolkata from NH2 and is a part of Golden Quadrilateral.

The significant bridges of Kolkata are:

  • Vivekananda Setu (Old name-Bally Bridge or Willingdon Bridge) established in 1932.
  • Rabindra Setu (Howrah Bridge) made in 1943
  • Vidyasagar Setu built in 1992
  • Nivedita Setu made in 2007
  • Panama Island Flyover constructed in 2015

Railway Transport

The first railway line was started in West Bengal between Howrah to Hooghly on 15the August 1854.

  • The North-East Frontier railway runs in the North Bengal region. Major railway junctions in West Bengal are Howrah, Sealdah, Asansol, Bandel, Bardhaman, Kharagpur and New Jalpaiguri.
  • Kolkata is the headquarters of three zones of Indian railways.
  1. Eastern Railway Zone, Kolkata

It comprises of four divisions, i.e., Howrah, Sealdah, Asansol and Malda. This zone operates the oldest train of Indian railways which is 150 years old, i.e., the Kalka Mail. It runs between Howrah to Kalka (Himachal Pradesh)

  1. South Eastern Railway zone, Kolkata

            It comprises of four division Adra, Kharagpur, Chakradharpur and Ranchi.

  1. Kolkata Metro Rail Service

The Kolkata metro rail service is included as the 17th zone of the Indian railways in 2010.

  • It is India’s first metro railway that was started on 24 th October 1984.
  • The train operates from Naopara to Kavi Subhash and has 24 stations.
  1. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR)

This train is also called as the famous ‘Toy Train’, is the most outstanding example of Hill Passenger Railway.

  • It was started in 1881. The traditional steam engine is still operational apart from modern diesel engines.
  • DHR was recognised as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1999.


West Bengal is the only state to own and operate a tramway in the country.

  • Trams are present in the city of Kolkata and are operated by the Calcutta Tramways Company Limited (CTC).
  • The electric tram of the city is the oldest of its kind in Asia.
  • It was started in 1902 during the British India period.

Air Transport

Air transport is an essential enabler to achieving economic growth and development. It facilitates integration into the global economy and provides vital connectivity on a national, regional, and international scale. It helps generate trade, promote tourism, and create employment opportunities.

The major airports in the state are as follows:

  1. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport: It is the largest airport in the State situated at Dum Dum.
  2. Bagdogra Airport: It is a custom airport. It connects the hilly areas of North Bengal.
  3. Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport: It is India’s first private-sector airport located at Andal near Durgapur.
  4. Kalaikunda Airport (Defence)
  5. Barrakpore Airport (Defence)
  6. Panagarh Airport (Defence and Domestic)
  7. Malda Airport (Domestic)
  8. Behala Airport (Domestic)
  9. Cooch Behar Airport (Domestic)
  10. Balurghat Airport (Domestic)

Note: The Transport Department, Govt. of West Bengal, along with Pawan Hans and BAPL organise a Helicopter Service that makes Gangasagar, Durgapur, Maida, Balurghat and Santiniketan just a short flight away from Kolkata.

Water Transport

Water transport was historically the fastest mode to get around. The world’s most prosperous cities were all founded on navigable bodies of water. It plays a vital role in stabilising the economy of any country and boosts trade standards. Well developed water transport is essential to prosper and increase the GPD of any country as it is a significant way of trading and supplying goods from country to country.

  • In Bengal river, Ganga and Brahmaputra along tributaries are very crucial waterways through the strategic point important.
  • Central Inland Water Transport Corporation Limited (CIWTC), Inland Water Transport (IWT) and Eastern Navigation Limited manage inland navigation in West Bengal.

Inland Waterways

There are 12 rivers where inland waterways transportation takes place in West Bengal. Inland waterways provide essential means for transportation of goods and people.  The extensive network of rivers, canals and backwaters that connects with the sea has been developed into the waterway by the Government of India (Inland Waterway Authority of India). West Bengal has a dense network of perennial and non-perennial rivers that are fit for navigation.

  • National Waterway (NW-1): The Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system that stretches from Allahabad to Haldia (1620 km) in NW-1.  It became operational from 27the October 1986. The waterway on the Hooghly river from Nabadwip to Haldia is a tidal while from Nabadwip to Allahabad is the inland river water system.
  • National Waterways (NW-5): The East Coast Canal System running from Geonkhali and Charbatia (217km) in West Bengal forms a stretch of NW-5. It is maintained by IWAI (Inland Waterways Authority of India) and CIWTC. The East canal is part of Brahmani-Mahanadi river system.

There are two important ports, i.e. Kolkata and Haldia, that carry export and import on the Eastern coast of India.

  • Kolkata Port: Kolkata Port Trust is the oldest port operating in India under the management of ports of West Bengal. British East India Company established it in 1870. It is connected by NH-2, NH-34, Eastern railways, NW-1 and NW-2. The Kolkata Dock System (KDS) comprises the dock systems at Kidderpore Dock Netaji Subhash Dock (NSD) and Budge Budge Docks.
  • Haldia Port: It was built in 1977 at the meeting place of Hooghly river and Haldi river. It is major exporting for chemicals and import of fuel oil. Officially, this port is called Haldia Dock Complex.

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