NEW DELHI: Get ready for a fine dining experience with family members at a railway station. In a first of its kind initiative, Indian Railways is planning to convert old coaches into restaurants. This concept is being promoted with an aim to increase non-fare revenue. One such unique restaurant inside a refurbished coach is coming shortly in Jabalpur and six other stations under the West Central Railway (WCR).
The first such initative was taken by Eastern Railway. In 2020, it had set up a restaurant in an old railway coach at Asansol station in West Bengal. Confirming the new development, Rajesh Dutt Bajpai, executive director (I&P) of Indian Railways, told this daily that they have started giving liberty to the private players to take unused railway coaches on contract for five years and refurbish them into ‘beautiful restaurants on wheels’.
The official said one such restaurant inside an old and unused coach will soon be opened near platform number 6 of Jabalpur railway station. He added that the railways will realise the licence fee from the party that takes the coach on contract for refurbishing under the non-fare revenue policy of the Indian Railways.
Rahul Jaipuriayar, chief spokesperson of West Central Railway, said, “Around 95% of refurbishing work of an old coach in Jabalpur has been completed by the party allowed to run such a restaurant.” He added that the railway will get an amount of Rs 3.3 crore in the next five years from seven such restaurants to be set up under the Bhopal and Jabalpur divisions of WCR as licence fees form the parties.