New Delhi, Mar 4: With a view to giving passengers a wider range of options for their meals on trains, the railways has introduced "ready-to-eat" food items for them.
While an e-catering service has been introduced on select trains and stations, passengers now also have the option of ordering pre-cooked food, said a senior official.
Guidelines on "ready-to-eat meals" have been issued to all zones wherein Mail/Express trains that have pantry cars have been asked to serve pre-cooked food as an 'add-on' option under the a-la-carte category, he said.
While steps have been taken to ensure that good quality and hygienic food is served to the passengers, there are provisions for imposition of penalties in case of deficiencies in service, he said.
North Western Railway, the nodal railway nominated to select reputed ready-to-eat companies, has empanelled four firms -- Gitwako Farms, BTW India, Gits Food Products and Aryan Food Products to provide the pre-cooked meals.
The e-catering service is at present available on 1,350 trains that do not have pantry cars and at 45 stations across the country.
Reputed players like KFC, Dominos, Haldiram, Bittoo Tikki Wala, Food Panda etc., have already been empanelled as vendors/aggregators for providing good quality food to passengers.
A helpline number at 138 has also been started for passengers to lodge complaints or provide suggestions regarding the food and catering services, the official said.