Meals on Indian Railways will never be the same again! From July 15, as many as 26 Rajdhani and Duronto Express trains passengers will get to enjoy the new revamped dinner and lunch meals from IRCTC. Financial Express Online had earlier reported that IRCTC plans to revamp the food it offers on premium trains such as Rajdhanis, Shatabdis and Durontos. To rationalise meal costs and avoid wastage of food, IRCTC is reducing the number and quantity of items it offers during train journeys. While the idea of aircraft-like combo meals was doing the rounds, a senior IRCTC official told FE Online that passengers of Rajdhani and Duronto Express trains are unlikely to welcome the step. Hence, full meals will continue to be provided in these premium long-distance trains, but in a rationalised way.
The new meals will start being served in all Rajdhani and Duronto Express trains that come under IRCTC catering directly by July 15, the officials told FE Online. “There are 26 trains that come directly under us and the tenders for these will be awarded maximum by June 25. By July 15, all trains will have the new meal option,” the official said. FE Online accessed the entire list of these 26 trains and some major names that stood out were: Bandra Terminus-Hazrat Nizamuddin Rajdhani Special, Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, Mumbai Central-New Delhi-Mumbai Central Rajdhani Express/August Kranti Rajdhani Express, Ahmedabad-New Delhi Swarna Jayanti Rajdhani Express, KSR Bengaluru-Hazrat Nizamuddin Rajdhani Express and Chennai Central-Hazrat Nizamuddin Duronto Express. The complete list of the 26 trains is given below:
|Train No.||Train Name|
|12239-40||Mumbai Central-Jaipur AC Duronto Express|
|12227-28||Mumbai Central-Indore Duronto Express|
|09003-04||Bandra Terminus-Hazrat Nizamuddin Rajdhani Special|
|20501-02||Agartala-Anand Vihar Terminal Rajdhani Express|
|12293-94||Mumbai LTT-Allahabad AC Duronto Express|
|12223-24||LTT-Ernakulam Duronto Express|
|12441-42||Bilaspur-New Delhi Rajdhani Express|
|12285-86||Secunderabad-Hazrat Nizamuddin Duronto Express|
|22413-14||Hazrat Nizamuddin-Madgaon Rajdhani Express|
|12281-82||Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Duronto Express|
|12219-20||Secunderabad-Mumbai LTT AC Duronto Express|
|Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express|
|12273-74||Howrah-New Delhi Duronto Express|
|Mumbai Central-New Delhi-Mumbai Central Rajdhani Express/August Kranti Rajdhani Express|
|12259-60||Sealdah-New Delhi AC Duronto Express|
|12957-58||Ahmedabad-New Delhi Swarna Jayanti Rajdhani Express|
|22691-92/93-94||KSR Bengaluru-Hazrat Nizamuddin Rajdhani Express|
|12439-40/12453-54||Ranchi-New Delhi Rajdhani Express|
|12309-10||Rajendra Nagar Patna-New Delhi Rajdhani Express|
|12245-46||Howrah- Yeshvantpur Duronto Express|
|12221-12||Howrah-Pune AC Duronto Express|
|12261-62||Howrah-Mumbai CSMT AC Duronto Express|
|12269-70||Chennai Central-Hazrat Nizamuddin Duronto Express|
|12213-14||Yeshvantpur-Delhi Sarai Rohilla AC Duronto Express|
|22201-02||Sealdah-Puri Duronto Express|
|22207-08||Chennai Central-Thiruvananthapuram Central SUPER AC Express|
IRCTC roped in an external agency to do a survey of Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto Express trains. According to the survey 79% people prefer regular meals as against combo meals. Hence it was decided that combo meals will not be introduced in Rajdhani and Duronto trains. A separate survey for Shatabdi Express trains is being conducted by another external agency to decide whether combo meals would be a better option for the premium short-distance chair car train. For Rajdhani and Duronto Express trains, IRCTC has decided to do away with evening sandwiches. Also, between fruit drink, tea and coffee, the passenger will be allowed to choose any one. “We will no longer serve soup and breadsticks as part of the dinner combo. The quantity of dal and chicken will be reduced from 150 grams to 120 grams and only boneless chicken will be served. We have decided to add the option of a seasonal vegetable as well,” the IRCTC official said.
For long-distance trains, where both dinner and lunch are served, combo meals had earlier been introduced. But according to IRCTC, for some passengers who board these trains from an intermediate station, lunch is the first and not the second meal. “They (passengers) were unhappy with the combo meal. Hence we decided to re-introduce regular meals. But passengers get bored of having paneer and chicken for both dinner and lunch. To make the meals more enjoyable, we have decided to introduce kofta and egg curry instead of paneer and chicken for lunch,” the official elaborated.
Apart from this, IRCTC is also striving to improve the level of service. Usage of meal trolleys is being imposed and an announcement system during mealtimes is being considered – passengers will be requested to remain seated for 30 minutes while the meal is served. This will allow for smooth movement of meal trolleys. IRCTC is also equipping each of these trolleys with sanitizers.