An undergraduate student surnamed Li was surprised to learn there was no longer a meal service on the high-speed train back to her hometown on January 12. China Railway decided to discontinue meal services in certain ticket classes on January 1, a spokesperson for the company said.

The 15-yuan boxed meals are no longer provided as a regular service, the conductor told Li, although they may be purchased separately.

The 2015 Passenger Transport Standard and Service of Railway classified meals into high, medium and low tiers according to price. Water bottles and 15-yuan boxed meals were considered mandatory.

“Only some classes still have the 15-yuan boxed meals. If the meals sell out, then there will be no meals available from the middle of the route,” a spokesperson for China Railway said.

“The latest version of the Passenger Transport Standard and Service is based on market demand. Our high-speed trains provide foods at all price levels rather than a specific type of food,” said Huang Xin, deputy director of China Railway Operation Department.

“China Railway serves 400 kinds of food. Some are priced more than 10 yuan, but many like steamed buns and dumplings are priced less than 10 yuan,” Huang said.

The most popular train are in the 45-yuan price range, Huang said. “Such boxed meals include stewed meat and braised pork,” he said.

Passengers who want low-priced food on the train can pre-order their meals using WeChat or the China Railway website.

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