With the objective of facilitating passengers to book meals of their choice in trains, e-catering service is now available in more than 1500 trains across the country. Besides serving in trains, the e-catering service, aptly named as "Food on Track", has also been extended to some major stations.
Undertaken by Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the railways catering arm, the e-catering service was initially started with 28 non-pantry car trains on a pilot basis. It was a Railway Budget 2015-16 proposal to provide passengers the e-catering option and the service is now available in 1516 trains, said a senior Railway Ministry official.
"Encouraged by the response, now we have extended the service in stations also on a pilot basis," the official said. The station-based e-catering has been made available in 45 major stations. As per the scheme, travelling passengers would be allowed to order food of their choice from leading private caterers at stations, including New Delhi, Old Delhi, Anand Vihar and Nizamuddin.
In the first phase, 45 stations covered under the scheme include Mumbai Central, Pune, Howrah, Sealdah, Guwahati, New Jalpaiguri, Patna, Bhubaneshwar, Visakhapatnam, Mugalsarai, Kanpur Central, Lucknow, Varanasi, Jaipur, Bilaspur, Kharagpur, Allahabad, Gorakhpur, Amritsar and Chandigarh. Station-based e-catering shall be only for stations and not on moving trains.
All trains passing through these 45 stations are now covered for services through e-catering. In addition, IRCTC also makes available budget food supplied by 'Jan Ahaar' and through its food plazas and fast food units. Passengers can now book a meal from the different menu options available as per the choice, for delivery at the opted station or train. Passengers can order by calling the toll-free number or via SMS by providing their PNS and seat number.