Indian railways signal end of an era with plan to phase out pantry car

By  in Delhi  www.theguardian.com

On the Golden Temple Mail and the Deccan Queen, the Howrah Express and the Agra Shatabdi, there is one carriage in the long, overcrowded trains rattling across India’s deserts, forests, farmlands and hills which has always been a haven of well-being: the pantry car.

Here, teams of men have toiled over decades to provide trillions of meals to billions of passengers. In a select few trains, multi-course meals have been served. In more modest ones, it has been a basic rice, vegetables and chapatis.

But now the famous pantry car is to be phased out. In a few years, Indian railway officials hope, it will have been largely replaced by “e-catering” and takeaways, which will attempt to satisfy booming India’s increasingly varied gastronomic tastes.

“It’s because people want different types of food. This way we can offer pizza, burgers or continental [European] food. It’s an alternative arrangement,” said Neeraj Sharma, a spokesman for Northern Railway, the state body that runs trains over a huge tract of north India. More info

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