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Catering from the days of Kipling

Efforts to find a balance between passenger service and security in the face of a pandemic on Indian railways continues with mixed success.

The Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has announced the suspension of catering services on Lucknow-New Delhi and Ahmedabad-Mumbai trains due to low occupancy and demand, as well as an increase in COVID-19 cases.

"The decision will be reviewed next month after assessing the dynamics of the load on trains running on both routes," the company said. IRCTC resumed servicing Tejas Express trains on 17 October, when the situation improved, but is now forced to stop again.

Travelers are encouraged to take their own food and appliances on their trips, eat in their own places, as in the days of Kipling,” the Indian press sneers. Tejas Express trains on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai and Lucknow-New Delhi routes are the first private trains in India to be fully air-conditioned and marketed as "semi-fast".

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