The common man’s days of being pampered on the Rajdhani and Shatabdi expresses are over. Elaborate gastronomical fare that was the high point of a journey on these trains has been stripped of some key tidbits. So, if you were fond of the appetizers, like soup and breadsticks before dinner or at breakfast, forget about them; they’re out.
The candies that arrived on a little brown tray along with a bottle of water have vanished. So have the pre-cut salad and the popular yogurt in Kullars (earthen pots).
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) launched the revised menu this month to concentrate on quality, said IRCTC Managing Director Rakesh Tandon. “We will focus on the quality and taste and not on the number of items,” he said.
According to sources, a special committee of higher officials at the Ministry of Railways decided the reduced menu after it observed quality was being compromised.
“Making soup in such mass quantity faced some hygiene issues,” said an official who was part of the committee.
But railway enthusiasts said without the elaborate servings, Rajdhani and Shatabdi would lose their special status. “If they are cutting down on privileges, they should reduce fare,” said Shashank Nanda, member of the Indian Railway Fan Club Association.
“If it’s a question of time, soup can be made faster than items like parantha,” said Arvind Saraswat, former director, food production, Taj Group of Hotels.
There are some additions as well. The breakfast menu will have new items like poha, idli, aloo bonda and aloo parantha, the railway official said.