New Delhi, Feb 27: To provide passengers with quality services, Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will inaugurate new policies and new trains to revolutionize train travel at 3 PM on Monday. Prabhu will be accompanied by Ministers of State for Railways Manoj Sinha and Rajen Gohain. Prabhu is also set to announce a new policy for its catering services which will separate the functioning of its cooking and food distribution on board. As per reports, the new catering policy envisages fulfilling aspirations of public regarding healthy and hygienic food. This move was taken as the Ministry received many complaints against food quality.

Along with new catering policies, today’s event is going to see the launch of a new partnership in parcel business with the Department of post. Two Express trains namely Humsafar Express, a special service comprising only AC-3 coaches with many added facilities and the First Antyodaya Express will also be introduced at the event today. The new catering policy is set to replace the seven-year-old one gives the railways an onboard catering responsibility for a majority of trains including all the new ones. Railway catering policy-2017 also empowers the IRCTC to fix menu and tariff in consultation with Railway Board.

The Humsafar Express (Train No. 14715/14715) will run to and fro from Sriganganagar to Tiruchchirappalli.

  • It will have GPS-based information system
  • Equipped with coffee/tea/soup vending machine, hot and refrigerated pantry.
  • It will also comprise of the fire prevention system, smoke detection and suppression system, mobile and laptop charging points
  • Convenient Berth Identification
  • The Express trains will have improved and hygienic toilets and will have dustbins in each cabin.
  • The Express trains will have attractive seats and berth with attractive curtains on windows and aisles.

The Antyodaya Express (Train No 22878/22877) will run to and fro from Ernakulam to Howrah.

  • The Express will have cushioned luggage racks and superfast service to please passengers.
  • It will have LED lights and dustbin in each compartment.
  • The Antyodaya Express will have water purifiers, fire extinguishers and will have modular toilets and bio-toilets.

After inspecting the Humsafar coaches in New Delhi last December, Prabhu said, “We will announce the fare structure of Humsafar soon but it will be slightly higher than the normal service”. The new catering policy encourages e-catering system and was finalized after taking suggestions from all stakeholders. It also allows 33 percent sub-quota for women in allotment of stalls at all stations.  While announcing in the 2016 Rail Budget, Prabhu has stated that IRCTC would begin to manage catering service in a phased manner. “IRCTC would unbundle catering service by creating distribution primarily between food preparation and its distribution,” Prabhu mentioned.

Moreover, the Indian railways has decided to go ahead with manufacturing on its own trainsets that can run at a maximum speed of 160 kmph, PTI reported. Aptly named ‘Train-2018’, the first trainset a rake without a separate locomotive is expected to be ready by March next year and likely to be pressed into service in Delhi-Lucknow or Delhi-Chandigarh sector.