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Restaurant service to remain

PUBLISHED: 10:55 16 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:02 05 July 2010

RESTAURANT catering will continue on East Anglia's mainline following a barrage of rail passengers' protests - but there is no long-term guarantee that dedicated dining cars will remain in service.

RESTAURANT catering will continue on East Anglia's mainline following a barrage of rail passengers' protests - but there is no long-term guarantee that dedicated dining cars will remain in service.

Three weeks' ago National Express East Anglia said it was closing its loss-making restaurant catering service on trains between London and Norwich.

The company has now said that the restaurant cars will remain operational alongside the introduction of an experimental at-seat menu for first class passengers which would be available for standard class ticket-holders who queue at the café bar,

It means that during a two-month trial of the new service, some trains will continue to include a restaurant car which will be open to both first class and standard class ticket holders.

Trials of the proposed new catering service at lunchtimes and evenings will take place during the two months from Monday 5 January with certain trains operating with a mix of the existing restaurant services together with an experimental offer in which food will be served at their seats to first class passengers, with standard ticket holders being able to buy from an improved menu from the café bar.

National Express East Anglia said the new arrangements would provide “an enhanced catering service available to everybody on board, not just those who dine in the restaurant car.”

Trials of an improved breakfast menu and service have started and the company claims they are “proving popular with customers and staff.”

Andrew Chivers, managing director of National Express East Anglia said: “We have listened to and taken account of the wide range of views that have been expressed about the proposed change in our catering services. These trials will help decide the best mix of new products to meet our customers' changing needs.”

Subject to consultation with the trades unions, the company wants to implement fully its new service by early March with a spokesman saying there was no long-term guarantee that its restaurant cars would remain in operation.

The current restaurant service will close as it normally does for the Christmas period at the end of Friday December 19.

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