The idea of getting a good meal in train may seem absurd, especially in train. However, things are not as bad as they were or as they were depicted. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had, some time back, raised an alarm bell regarding hygiene of meals and the stacking of meal packets near lavatories.

This could be a major put off. Another thing to consider is the lack of dustbins in compartments. In spite of the presence of pantry cars, many people are still habitual of bringing food from home. They need to dispose off their leftovers.

FSSAI has planned a ‘Safe Food on Track’ program. It intends to train officials of catering units and the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to provide hygienic, safe meals to passengers.

E-catering service

IRCTC has pioneered the e-catering service with the help of Railway Ministry. It has roped in big names from the food industry…those that people love. You can find brands like KFC, Nirulas, Haldiram’s, Dominos, Pizza Hut, Chaayos, and more involved in e-catering service.

One of the benefits of this service is that passengers are not dependant on their train’s pantry cars for meals. They can order meals as per their choice. No need to worry about food hygiene. No need to be forcibly content with the same boring menu of pantry cars. You can try a variety of dishes from your favorite brands right at your berth.

E-catering allows travelers to relish hot meal in train without hassle. It takes only a few clicks to order the meal; but you must do so two hours prior to your train reaching the station where the e-catering kitchen is based.

Freedom from pantry cars is one of the best things about e-catering. Passengers seem to be delighted by this online method of ordering food. This can be seen from the wide acceptability of IRCTC’s pilot project that started from 45 major stations. 

Meal for kids

The IRCTC and the Railway Ministry have gone one step further by introducing Janani Sewa. This is a service for babies. Mothers traveling with babies and small kids can avail themselves hot milk, water, and baby food in train. The pilot project has started in 25 stations, which include Mumbai, New Delhi, Surat, Lucknow, and Chennai.

The IRCTC also provides a children’s menu. The idea is to make train journeys more exciting for kids. The meals include noodles, French fries, burgers, and other yummy dishes that kids love. There are also meal combos that help passengers save money, yet relish a great meal.

Passengers can easily order such meals by logging on to IRCTC’s e-catering section, or by downloading an app, or by sending a message through phone to 139, or by dialing a all-India toll free number 1323.

The FSSAI has urged the Indian railways to focus more on providing quality food to passengers rather than providing a host of food items. Quality matters most. One of the reasons pantry cars are losing their customers to e-catering outlets is hygiene. E-catering involves big food brands. They are apt in offering high class food service – clean, hot, freshly-cooked, tasty meals.

When a person is traveling all he or she wants is a hearty meal. How it rejuvenates them! You don’t get good food while traveling and look how frustrated you become! Food is a major component of journey. With millions of people traveling by train daily and most of them traveling long distances, providing fulfilling meals to travelers becomes the responsibility of railways. It is the right of a traveler to get good quality food during his or her journey.