Food on the railways – catering standards and value

It was quite nostalgic to reflect on the old days of railways and British Rail. The BBC has aired many documentaries on this subject over the last few months. The history of railways in the UK stands out as one of the great industrial achievements. The problem has been that more recent years saw changes in how we lived and railways have always struggled to keep up with expectations.

One of the real features of the old Railway operation was the growth in their catering services. As railways grew the need for hot food on trains also increased. First class travel always had this. But as the trains changed and needs grew then on-board catering for long distances became a standard.

This may seem unbelievable, but at one point the catering standards on railways used to be very high. The old British Rail breakfast was one of the highlights for travellers leaving on an early train.

And what is probably also forgotten is that the railways created many large hotels in cities where they were attached to the main stations. Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool and London all had such hotels. The standards there we at times considered to be on a par with anything other hotel groups could offer.

As caterers we’ve always  taken our inspiration from the days when standards were high. Fresh quality food, cooked and prepared to a 5 star standard, topped off with premium service. As far as we are concerned, anything less isn’t worth producing.

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