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The Epic Journey: Kolkata to London on the World’s Longest Bus Route

Image Source: Twitter (X)

In the 1960s, a remarkable bus service connected Kolkata (then Calcutta), India, to London, England—the famous Albert Tours aboard the iconic double-decker bus named Albert. This service claimed the title of the world’s longest bus route, with a ticket costing £145 (approximately ₹13,518 today), a princely sum at the time that spoke to the grandeur and ambition of the journey. Today, rare photographs of this historic bus have resurfaced on social media, sparking intrigue among netizens.

According to a report from Central Western Daily, the journey of Albert began when British traveler Andy Stewart purchased the bus in 1968 to embark on an epic adventure from Sydney to London via India. Departing from Martin Place, Sydney, on October 8, 1968, accompanied by 13 fellow passengers, Stewart completed the nearly 16,000-kilometer odyssey in 132 days, arriving in London on February 17, 1969. Albert’s route spanned continents, traversing Belgium, West Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, West Pakistan, India, Burma, Thailand, Malaya, and Singapore. In India, the bus made stops at Delhi, Agra, Allahabad, Varanasi, and culminated its journey in Kolkata.

Image Source: Twitter (X)

The allure of Albert Tours lay not only in its unprecedented route but also in its luxurious amenities. The lower deck featured a sophisticated reading and dining lounge, while the upper deck boasted a forward observation lounge offering panoramic views. Equipped with a full kitchen and entertainment facilities including radio and taped music, Albert provided a platform for onboard social gatherings. Travelers enjoyed comfort throughout the journey with amenities like fan heaters, complemented by bright curtains, carpets, and individual sleeping bunks, ensuring a ‘home away from home’ experience.

Image Source: Twitter (X)

En route from England to Sydney, Albert traversed a tapestry of iconic landmarks including the Golden Horn of Istanbul, the majestic Taj Mahal in Agra, and the spiritual city of Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges. Travelers also savored shopping excursions in cultural hubs such as New Delhi, Kabul, Istanbul, Tehran, Vienna, and Salzburg.

Image Source: Twitter (X)

During its operational years, Albert completed approximately 15 tours between Kolkata and England and conducted four round trips between England and Australia until 1976. Crossing nearly 150 borders with minimal bureaucratic hurdles, Albert earned the reputation of a ‘friendly ambassador’ in every nation it visited. The enduring legacy of Albert Tours is steeped in captivating stories waiting to be discovered, each narrative more enthralling than the last, resonating with the spirit of adventure and discovery that defined an era.

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