E catering by IRCTC for train travel is the arrangement of delivering food at your reserved seat while on travel in reserved tickets, on trains where there is no pantry car food supply. It is a special arrangement by vendors shortlisted by IRCTC and delivered at selected stations and selected trains as of now. IRCTC is gradually increasing the number of stations and train services where e catering facility is available.
To avail the E-catering by IRCTC one has to first book the ticket. Tickets booked online as well as from counter are eligible. Then one can search whether the facility is available in the train for which ticket is booked. For this there is a provision in the website (www.ecatering.irctc.co.in/eCatering/) for 'search by PNR,. Then select the station. Vendor and menu will appear. There is also facility for search by station and search by train.One can also have an overview by seeing station list, menu, timings etc.
After ensuring the same, passenger can select vendor and menu and place order. You will get confirmation alert email&/or SMS. The food will be delivered at your seat at the designated station when the train arrives. (An OTP generated ha to be verified by vendor on delivery). If the train is late within tolerable limits there will not be problem and delivery will be done. There will be periodical alerts before delivery.
Regarding delays , I quote what IRCTC has given in their web site:
" the train shall be monitored and food will be delivered if the train reaches the delivery station within service timing; i.e. between 0600-2200 hrs. However, the passenger, if so desire, may cancel the meal as per the terms & conditions. But in case a train is running late, and reaches the meal delivery station beyond the service time; i.e. within 2200-0600 hrs ; the delivery of meal is not guaranteed by IRCTC. In such case, if food is not delivered to passenger , full refund shall be made after deducting bank charges." Unquote.
The website address is www.ecatering.irctc.co.in and phone numbers are 1323 and SMS MEAL to 139.