At the same time, the very concept of food in rail travel is being transformed. Instead of preparing meals on the way, passengers will be offered pre-packaged food …
As the general director of Russian Railways Oleg Belozerov told the media, we are talking about a full-fledged reform of the food system in trains. It has matured a long time ago, since the Soviet concept of restaurant cars is pretty outdated. “Food in them is perceived as something expensive,” the head of Russian Railways notes. Feeding prices under the new conditions should be moderate, thanks to the preparation of food in large factories. This will significantly reduce the cost of meals and, accordingly, the price tag for travelers.
Airplane food concept
At the station of departure, as well as along the route of the train, containers with various dishes in vacuum packaging will be delivered to the bistro on wheels. After receiving the order, the employees of the mobile bistro will only have to heat up the fries or fried fish in the microwave and put the contents of the container on a plate. The passenger can eat lunch right in the bistro hall or ask to deliver food in the compartment.
Such a system greatly simplifies the process of feeding on the train and ensures its variety. The cook of an ordinary dining car prepares 2-3 types of dishes, from which passengers have to choose.
The menu of the bistro car can include dozens of dishes, from soups to desserts, and it takes five minutes to warm them up. The process of collective nutrition is especially facilitated. For example, if a group of children is traveling on a train, the tour leader only needs to bring them to the bistro car and feed them in a short time under normal conditions.
Russian Railways promises a varied menu and fresh products
The company already has 12 operating companies that will supply ready-made meals to mobile bistros. Each will be hermetically sealed and labeled with an expiration date and date of manufacture.
Before shipment, the food will undergo compulsory certification. It is planned to set the same prices for dishes on all trains of Russian Railways, the menu, if possible, will also be standardized.
As the Russian Railways emphasize, in mobile bistros they are not going to feed travelers with fast food in any case, the menu is diversified as much as possible. It will include soups, salads, side dishes, meat and fish dishes, desserts, drinks, as well as special meals for children and vegetarians.
According to the tradition of restaurant cars, bistros will also offer alcoholic drinks, and at reasonable prices, Russian Railways promise.
Where are the old dining cars going?
Russian Railways currently has about 400 dining cars on its balance sheet. The vast majority of them are simply converted into bistros. Kitchens will disappear from the interior space; microwave ovens and modern dispensing systems will be installed in their place.
Some of the restaurants will still remain in service. Along with the bistro, they will be included in long-distance trains, as well as in branded and tourist trains. Thus, passengers traveling long distances will have a certain choice in their food. This is very important from a psychological point of view, since it allows you to diversify a long monotonous trip, according to Russian Railways.
The change in the concept of food in Russian trains will take place gradually. Several bistro cars on regular trains are already in operation, and their number will grow steadily.
In “Sapsans” running between Moscow and St. Petersburg, the bistro system has been operating for more than two years and has proven itself quite well. In many ways, it was this positive experience that convinced the leadership of Russian Railways of the need to transform restaurant cars into modern bistros.