I've been talking about the catering lottery a lot since the shift rota changes in March. The reason being is that you had a chance that the advertised catering would not be available on your train often due to staff shortages but also sometimes due to faulty kitchen equipment or supply issues. Before the rota changes it was rare to not get the advertised catering offering and when it did happen there usually was a good reason for it.

As many know I value catering on-board trains. Having a decent meal can make any journey more pleasurable and in the winter it's even more important as the dark nights mean no views on the evening services.

The catering lottery put me off booking my own leisure trips by train. When you're looking forward to an evening meal and then end up with a sandwich in a box it's easy to be disappointed. This combined with my current employer switching to a standard class only policy had meant I've only made a few first class trips since these changes had been made.

Although the catering issues have not been fully resolved it does seem that investment is being made to undo some of the mistakes that were made. At least 50 new people have been hired and will be finishing training soon. We'll see if this is enough to make the service more reliable.

Fortunately, as of last week my employer has had a change of heart over 1st class train travel and now allows it for journeys over 60 minutes. This means I'm once more likely to be in first class multiple times every month, or in the case of this week four times in a week!

All the trains I've been on so far this week have had the advertised catering service. Most importantly the evening meal trains which offer a better selection of food, cooked by the on-board chef.

This has given me confidence that the catering lottery may be coming to an end and now will be happy once more to travel first class for leisure trips too. The past few days have really reminded me how good VTEC can really be.