Soon you may have more choice, better food on trains

Unhappy with the food served on trains, Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has decided to bring in new caterers and award contracts with fresh terms and conditions in the next three months.

To break the present cartel of a handful of catering vendors who have been controlling food supply to over 302 long-distance trains for decades, the new contract conditions will limit the number of trains one catering company can serve. The new standard bidding documents will include an enhanced licence fee and revised tariff.

As a result, the food on Rajdhanis, Shatabdis and Durontos may see a drastic change next year.

In a letter to all 17 zonal railways this week, Bansal directed the general managers to conduct ‘Passenger Opinion Surveys’ and “personally monitor” the award of contracts.

“Immediate action must be initiated so as to ensure supply of good quality and hygienic food,” Bansal wrote. “I expect that you shall personally monitor the award of contracts and setting up of mechanised and modern base kitchens… including service through trolleys.”

The Railway Minister also directed a new menu, with more variety, for food served at stations by catering vendors, known in the Railways as “static units”.

“It is noticed that despite the issue of instructions of allotment/renewal of such units, there has been no progress,” he wrote.

Officials said that food complaints figured high during every inspection made by the minister anywhere in the country. There have been written complaints about taste, hygiene and even quantity of the food served.

One of the problems has been that the prices of the food served on trains has not been revised for a decade. That is set to change.

Trains to have AC Pantry Cars

New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) The Railway Ministry is planning to replace all pantry cars in mail and express trains with AC coaches as part its efforts to improve its catering services.

Now, premier trains like Rajdhani and Shatabdi have AC pantry coaches with enhanced features.

Sources said the move to replace the conventional pantry coaches with AC ones would serve the two-fold purpose of improving hygiene and the cleanliness in catering operation and improving quality of food served onboard trains.

Indications are that the plan, which is still at the drawing board stage, might find mention in the new catering policy likely to be announced next month.

“Conventional pantry coaches have several shortcomings and problems related to water boilers and hot cases. With the increase on passenger volume and traffic, these problems keep on recurring,” a source said.

Indian Railway’s Turn Around News

Dear Friends,

This blog will share latest news regarding the Turn Around of Indian Railways. Positive and innovative reforms facilitating the turn around of Indian Railways will be highlighted. The main intention of this blog is to highlight the innovative changes happening in Indian Railways.


 Only information regarding major policy changes will be posted. This blog does not contain any train specific info.


This blog is not an official website of Indian Railways. You can refer to the official website of Indian Railways at the following address,


The news reports are compiled from various news papers by A.HARI, a Railway enthusiast based in Chennai.