“They don’t mind if the train is late but they must get their breakfast.”

Plans are afoot to “modernize” India’s rail system, and that includes phasing out “pantry,” or food cars.  People are righteously upset about it:

“‘It is part of the Indian way of life,’ said Khare. ‘It is very important to the Indian to eat well. They don’t mind if the train is late but they must get their breakfast.’

The menus of the pantry cars, and the occasional dining cars, have been unchanged for decades. Many still bear the influence of British rule, which ended in 1947, offering breakfasts of limp omelettes, fried ‘cutlets’ of unidentifiable ingredients and baked beans, washed down with strong, sweet tea, irrespective of temperatures soaring to beyond 45C inside and outside the train.

Recent plans to modernise India’s sprawling and underfunded railway network include the introduction of high speed trains and automatically closing doors. Phasing out pantry cars is part of a broader push to develop a ‘modern system’, officials said.

‘This is a long-time plan of the Indian Railways. The idea is to … reduce dependency on private caterers who are in charge of pantry cars. The other reason is to replace the pantry cars with passenger coaches to earn more revenue,’ an official told the Times of India newspaper.”

When I went to India two years ago (Mumbai and Goa), I regretfully didn’t take any trains.  Surprisingly to me, flying between cities was very affordable and incredibly convenient.

But here it seems standing athwart history would be the correct maneuver.

Click through The Guardian link up top for some awesome pictures.

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