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Newsmen Bureau

Kolkata, 14 October: SIMILAR to Metro Railway, buses and local suburban train operators have now announced midnight services for the benefit of pandal hoppers in Kolkata.

South Eastern Railway (SER) today said that it would operate 35 EMU special trains from 18-23 October as midnight services.  These special trains will run between Mecheda-Howrah, Howrah-Kharagpur, Kharagpur-Mecheda, Panskura-Howrah, Howrah-Panskura, Amta-Howrah and Howrah-Amta.

These trains will broadly ply between 10.45 pm in the night to 5.30 the next morning and would halt at all stoppages en route their destination.

In addition to this, all the regular galloping EMU and MEMU trains too will have stoppages at all from 19 – 23 October except for the 38808 Midnapur-Howrah EMU Local, 38714 Kharagpur-Howrah EMU Local, 68002 Jaleswar-Belda-Howrah MEMU Passenger, 68003 Howrah-Ghatsila MEMU Passenger and 68004 Ghatsila-Howrah MEMU Passenger.

Eastern Railway too will operate midnight local trains on north, south and main sections. They are finalising the number and timings of the midnight special trains keeping in mind the convenience of pandal hoppers who come to Kolkata from the districts.

If Metro and local trains operate run overnight services, can the humble buses be any behind? The answer is a big no.

The state transport department has asked the government-owned bus operators such as the Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC), Calcutta State Transport Corporation (CSTC) and the West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation (WBSTC) to cancel the leave of their drivers and conductors from 19 – 23 October.

The department has chalked out a plan for the three bus corporations to operate 900 buses comprising both AC and Non-AC fleet on those festive days. The buses will cover all important routes in Kolkata and the immediate neighbourhood such as Howarh.

The drivers and conductors will work on two shifts. The first shift will be from 5 am – 1 pm; the second shift will be from 1 pm – 3 am. The transport department has similarly asked private bus operators to operate overnight services this Durga Puja as they have done in the previous years.

Metro Railway has already announced that they would operate trains from 1.40 pm – 4 am from 20-22 October, and from 1.40 pm – 11.11 pm on 23 October.