Upping its game against airlines, the Indian Railways and its catering arm, , IRCTC have partnered with popular restaurant chain Pind Balluchi and The Landmark Hotel to serve delicious food to its passengers onboard the Vande Bharat Express or Train 18. The train that will run between Delhi and Varanasi is expected to offer scrumptious meals from these restaurants from February 15.
"The menu is in the last stages of being finalised and that the food served to passengers will be from known restaurants in Allahabad (Prayagraj) and Kanpur. We are looking to tie-up with known restaurants and brands so that a premium experience can be offered to passengers of the Vande Bharat Express," said an IRCTC official.
According to the official, "The lunch for Vande Bharat Express will be loaded at the Allahabad (Prayagraj) station. This is from Pind Balluchi. The dinner on the return journey will be loaded from Kanpur station and is expected to be from a restaurant of the city's famous Landmark Hotel. However, the talks for this catering arrangement are in final stages, but a tie-up is likely soon". The official added "For breakfast, IRCTC is working on a mix of 3-4 food items such as vegetable cutlet, omelette, a special type of bread, quiche and doughnuts or lemon tarts. There is no doubt that the menu on Vande Bharat Express will be a more premium and palatable one than on trains like Gatimaan Express".
Passengers onboard the Vande Bharat Express will not be able to opt out of meals, except for those travelling between Allahabad (Prayagraj) and Varanasi. The fares of Train 18 or Vande Bharat Express are inclusive of the catering charges. The fare for the executive chair car of Vande Bharat Express has been kept at Rs 3,520 for Delhi to Varanasi trip, while it will be Rs 3,470 for the return trip due the difference in catering cost. The chair car passengers will have to shell out Rs 1,850 and Rs 1,795 for Delhi to Varanasi and Varanasi to Delhi respectively.
As part of the above mentioned fares, passengers in the executive chair car will pay Rs 399 for the meals (breakfast with morning tea, lunch) from Delhi to Varanasi, while those in the chair car will pay Rs 344. On the return journey, people in executive chair car will shell out Rs 349 for the food (evening tea with snacks, dinner), and those in the chair car will pay Rs 288.
Vande Bharat Express will be flagged off by PM Narendra Modi on February 15 from New Delhi. On its regular run (not inaugural), Train 18 will depart from Delhi at 6:00 am to reach Varanasi at 2:00 pm, with stops at Kanpur and Allahabad (Prayagraj) at 10:20 am and 12:25 pm respectively. For the return journey the same day, Vande Bharat Express will leave Varanasi at 3:00 pm to reach Delhi at 11:00 pm, with stops at Allahabad (Prayagraj) at 4:35 pm and at Kanpur at 6:30 pm.
(Edited by Sameer Gaur)