Food on trains has always been a problem for people with all types of food habits. Passengers, particularly of long-distance trains, had no chance to carry home-made food for the entire journey. Many passengers have become quality conscious and have ceased to patronize the food prepared and/ or sold on platforms. They are not happy with the unhygienic conditions in which the food is prepared nor are they satisfied with its quality. For most people, even the food offered by pantry cars is far from acceptable. So, in general, a large chunk of train passengers needed someone to offer them the type of food they will like.
IRCTC’s New Scheme -
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation has taken first steps in this direction by introducing IRCTC e catering service on trains, which run without a pantry car. Passengers can book food of their choice from the menu on offer through the website ecatering.irctc.co.in, by calling phone numbers 1800-1034-139 (toll-free), 0120-4383892-99 (toll) or by sending SMS Meal to 139.
The passenger has to give the PNR number while booking the order and make an e.payment. This facility is available at present at New Delhi, Muzzaffarnagar, Ambala, Mathura, Jaipur, Agra Cantonment, Alwar, Jalandhar, Pathankot, Bharuch, Vapi and Vadodara. The food on offer includes a thali, biryani, and pizzas. The ecatering services are available between 6 am and 10 pm. The minimum order has to be worth Rs60. This is just a beginning and the IRCTC has to go a long way in meeting the minimum expectations of the people.
TravelKhana is Already Doing It -
Some private food-in-train services have taken a lead in e catering in train by launching their services at many stations in the country. TravelKhana is an award-winning company among such companies. It makes tasty food of a wide range available to passengers at hundreds of stations. It offers more variety, promises quality and food preparation in hygienic conditions. The choice is from vegetarian and non-vegetarian thalis, non-veg dishes, vegetables, bread preparations, rotis, pizzas, South Indian dishes, Chinese food and much more.
TravelKhana also offers to serve the passengers the tasty dishes prepared by popular restaurants and food outlets in cities, where the train is reaching in over two hours’ time. So passengers can taste the food from popular restaurants in different cities while they are sitting at their seat in the train. The passenger can order food by logging in at the website or contacting the company on phone. The payment can be through net-banking, credit cards or on delivery of food. The passengers have to order the food an hour and a half before the train reaches the station where the food is needed.
TravelKhana presents the food in casseroles, keeping it fresh and warm. TravelKhana has expanded its service greatly in a short period of time. With the fast rate of its expansion, it is likely to cover many more stations and offer many more eating options to the passengers in near future. Everyone will surely agree that there is nothing as agreeable as getting hot quality food at their seat in a train.