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.
He said IRCTC, handling the catering operations for Railways, is currently in the process of correcting the problems. It has identified 18 per cent of the pantry cars, which are in bad shape, and is in the process of improving them.
Catering services onboard trains have been a major area of concern for the PSU.