At last, after much commotion you can find a pleasing change in travel food services in India. Do you know the Indian railways network is the 4th biggest one in the world? According to a report, India has more than 8000 stations. The sector employs more than a million people. Every day about 23 million passengers are on the move by train. This is equivalent to moving the whole population of Australia!
It is, undoubtedly, a matter of dignity to provide excellent food facilities to train travelers.
Modern catering scenario
Gone are the days when only platform food was a passenger’s choice. Today, choices are aplenty. You can still eat from a local station vendor, or be content with whatever your train’s pantry car serves you, or avail yourselves e-catering service of IRCTC.
The latter is making a rage. How it has clicked with train travelers! Everybody owns smart phones these days. So, it becomes more convenient to order food online, that too, food of your choice from your favorite brand like Pizza Hut, Dominos, Haldiram’s, Nirulas, KFC, and more.
E-catering is for everybody
Those with simple cell phones can also avail themselves e-catering service. Just dial a toll free number or send a sms to 139. You will be connected to an executive who will take your meal order. You must order your meal a couple of hours in advance of reaching the station where the vendor has established their kitchen. It takes time to prepare your meal, right?
Say, if your train is scheduled to reach a particular station at 8 pm, you must place your meal order by 6 pm. E-catering services are open from 6 in the morning to 10 at night. In case your train is late and reaches a station after 10 pm, then there is no guarantee that the ordered meal will be delivered to you. In this case, you will be refunded after deducting bank charges.
So, your train must run as per scheduled timings to let you reap the benefit of e-catering service.
Newer policies, better services
Travel food services India are undergoing a sweeping change thanks to active participation of the IRCTC. This has been possible after the Railway Ministry brought into force the new Catering Policy from February 2017. It empowers the IRCTC (Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation) to regulate e-catering outlets, station-based kitchens, AVMs (Automatic Vendor Machines), and more.
Officials of the IRCTC are busy devising newer and passenger-friendly ways to make good quality food available to travelers. Automatic Vendor Machines is one such example. You simply insert relevant amount of coins in the machine and out comes packets of biscuits, chips, and other snacks. This is the “food version” of ATM.
Train traveling has become more interesting thanks to e-catering services. The thought of ordering your favorite pizza or Chinese dish from your favorite brand makes your journey more exciting. If you have kids traveling with you, e-catering becomes fun. They can order their choice meals from popular brands like Dominos, KFC, and more. You, no longer, need to see their tantrums.
E-catering has changed the way people travel by trains. Slowly, but surely, the Indian railways is changing for the better. Do you know the New Delhi Railway Station has found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for featuring the biggest Route Relay Interlocking System in the world? The interlocking system is used to interlock multiple tracks. It is done to divert trains when the traffic volume is high.
The world’s longest railway station is also in India. It is Gorakhpur Railway Station in Uttar Pradesh. It is, indeed, a matter of pride to travel by train in India.