Decision to axe buffet on trains slammed by MP

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MPs have hit out at a decision to scrap the traditional restaurant car service on East Coast trains from South Yorkshire to London and Edinburgh.

Publicly-owned East Coast trains is axing its restaurant car service, the oldest in the UK, in May as part of an overhaul of onboard facilities costing almost £10 million.

The company has said it wants to avoid a repeat of the multi-million pound catering losses suffered by the route’s previous operators, National Express East Coast, before it walked away from its franchise in 2009.

But the step has angered Labour MP Linda Riordan, who has tabled an Early Day Motion before Parliament.

The motion, signed by six MPs, states a restaurant car meal “enhanced passenger experience on long journeys” and claims its removal shows train operators “put profit before passenger comfort”.

The EDM also “calls on East Coast to reverse the decision to remove restaurant car facilities from its services and for the Government to explore how restaurant cars can be re-introduced on our railways”.

Ms Riordan, who believes dozens of jobs will also be lost, said: “My main concern is for the job losses but I am also concerned for passengers travelling up and down - not just to Yorkshire but further to Scotland - who will not be able to get a meal.”

She added: “East Coast is in public ownership, so there is no reason why ministers cannot take notice of this EDM.”

Under the changes, first-class passengers on East Coast trains will be served hot breakfasts brought to their seats before 10am, dinner from 4pm-7pm and sandwiches and salads at other times.

They will have complimentary alcohol and soft drinks on weekdays and an all-day light menu at weekends.