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Cooking by Induction Heating for Indian Railways

By on September 20, 2014

Journey by train is leisure time with nothing to do and a desire for munching all the time. This has called upon the need for mobile catering facility to supply hot and fresh food to the passenger. For this purpose, Indian Railway runs Pantry car in all important trains. There are two types of pantry cars

  1. Rajdhani type  Pantry cars: These pantry cars are attached to a complete vestibule type trains with  EOG as a source of power. The pantry car is equipped with electrical resistance heating appliances for cooking and preheating of food.
  2. Conventional type : These pantry cars are standalone with LPG as cooking fuel. LPG cooking is economical as compared to electrical heating,  but not considered due to safety issues involved in handling LPG. Electrical pantry car also not suited as the load is much more and very poor energy efficiency.

The resistance heating method of cooking has the following dis-advantages:-

  1. Excessive heat loss in the ambiance, discomfort to the cooking staff and adding heat load to the air conditioning of pantry car.
  2. Red hot coil can cause fire if there is any oil spillage over it.
  3. Accurate heat control is not possible.

Induction Heating for cooking

Induction heating is the process of heating of an electrically conducting metallic body by electromagnetic induction at high frequency producing eddy current and metallic resistance leads to Joule Heating of the metal.   The frequency of AC used depends on the object size, material type, coupling (between the work coil and the object to be heated) and the penetration depth. Induction heating was one of the most popular means for localized heating in industrial application such as  induction furnace, induction heating for bearing fitment, induction brazing, induction sealing, etc.,  and now cooking is finding application large-scale application with affordable price and reliability. Following are the advantages

  1. There is no red-hot coil, hence, absolutely safe from fire on oil spillage.
  2. Direct heating of the container, hence, efficiency is as high as  90%.
  3. Reduced heat radiation and thus it keeps comfort to the cooking staff.
  4. Accurate heating control

Trial and Energy efficiency report

Western Railway has already provided  02 induction heaters for cooking in one Rajdhani pantry car no. 04804 and one induction heater for cooking range in pantry car no. 03804. Preliminary trial reports have indicated energy saving to the tune of 30%. Northern Railway has also provided Induction Heater based cooking range in one of the LHB Pantry Car. Its performance has been also been reported energy-efficient similar to to  WR.

Induction Heater ON but you will feel the heat

Heating Coil of Resistive Filament









Clean kitchen with safe working

Only container is heated by induction and eddy current


Cooking time also reduced

There is much reduction in the cooking time based on the time recorded for cooking of different items by team of WR. This is obvious also as now the heat is induced directly into utensil body instead through conduction or convection. Now the heat transfer is faster.

Screenshot - 20-09-2014 , 07_10_55

Specification of Induction Cooking installed

Screenshot - 20-09-2014 , 07_16_50

Energy Saving – a significance result

Screenshot - 20-09-2014 , 08_52_43


Utility of induction cooking in pantry cars is proved beyond doubt than what is holding in completing the work in all pantry cars working with Rajdhani class of trains? Trial work is completed by NR and WR and proven independently. There is every possibility of releasing electric power enough to power one extra coach. One of the constraint in power car capacity is its inability to power 24 coaches and now this modification will help at least in attaching one more coach.


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