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Rajdhani Express food trolley dream chokes in files

- Reluctance of IRCTC Patna region throws spanner in plan to offer train passengers in-flight service feeling

The railways’ plan to serve food packets on trolleys on the Rajdhani Express seems stuck in a limbo for the past four years. The scheme could not move past the trial stage three years ago.

According to a circular of the Indian Railways issued in 2010, Rajdhani Express passengers were supposed to get food packets served on trolleys as fliers get on planes.

Even the design of special trolleys were approved, as they needed to be of appropriate size for easy manoeuvrability inside the corridors of train coaches and to have sufficient space for stacking up required number of food packets for passengers.

The homework was complete but the service was never launched. The railways shifted the blame on the zonal railway headquarters and the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).

An airhostess serves food from a trolley

A senior official of the Railway Board told The Telegraph: “It is the duty of the zonal railway officials and the IRCTC to implement the circular but their failure to take necessary steps after conducting the trial has deprived the Rajdhani passengers of the service.”

The vestibules were supposed to be modified to help the smooth movement of the service trolleys by placing a rubber-layered mat on them. Using the trolley would have saved time taken to serve food to passengers. At present, the waiters take more than an hour-and-a-half to serve food trays with hands in each coach.

On the reason behind failing to implement the trolley system on the Rajdhani Express, IRCTC Patna regional manager S.A. Karim said: “The IRCTC had tried to implement the trolley system on the Rajdhani Express following a successful trial but it faced lot of problems later. Plane passengers sit quietly and do not move around. However, train passengers keep moving, creating a lot of problems for waiters to serve the food on the trolleys.”

Asked how the trolley system was working well on the Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani Express, Karim said: “I don’t know that but here it is not possible.”

Two trolleys have been kept idle at the Rajendra Nagar kitchen base in Patna for use on running trains.

Reacting to the IRCTC’s reluctance to introduce food trolleys on the Rajdhani Express running via Patna, Ashok Agarwal, a frequent passenger of the train and a resident of Patna City, said: “Had they been serious about passengers’ interest, they would have introduced it three years ago. I hope things would improve in future.”