Train contract just the ticket for Hastings caterers

Arman Sazkissyan (steward), Ray Chapman (chairman), Cheryl Bell (president) and Robert Lee (steward)
Arman Sazkissyan (steward), Ray Chapman (chairman), Cheryl Bell (president) and Robert Lee (steward)

A TEAM of entrepreneurs is on track for success after securing a contract to restart catering services on board trains to the capital.

The Hastings Rail Catering Services (HRCS) Ltd is hoping to bring back a taste of 1066 country to commuters travelling to the capital.

From Monday April 2, there will be a new service operating out of Hastings Train Station supplying four trolleys on Southeastern services to the city and back.

It will be the first time passengers will be able to buy food on board trains since Rail Gourmet stopped the service in October 2010.

Four staff who used to work for Rail Gourmet have been given new jobs and four more plus a general manager still have to be appointed.

Staff will serve tea, coffee and alcholic drinks including cider from a producer in Robertsbridge.

There will be pastries and croissants available during the morning.

Hastings Fruit and Veg Co. based in the Britannia Enterprise Centre in Waterworks Road will provide fresh produce for the daily service.

The company will trade as Grub on the Go on a shared ownership basis with staff taking equal shares and profits.

Chairman of the HRCS Ltd. Ray Chapman said: “It’s very important to us that we support the local economy and provide job opportunities for local people.

“We plan to trial a number of sustainable, locally-sourced, healthy snacks and beverages.

“We want to provide a higher quality, environmentally sound alternative to the pre-packaged offerings typically found on trains. Hastings Rail Catering Services Ltd. will be an employee-owned company, with employees receiving shares in the company and having an important say in not only the day-to-day operations, but the strategic direction the company is taking.

“We want to provide local jobs for local people and a first class on board service for commuters once again.”

• The company is currently recruiting for a manager to coordinate its activities, and will be shortly recruiting for stewards. It is in the process of setting up a web site; in the interim for more information email