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The Caterer

How I got here

13 September 2004
How I got here

Twenty-one years ago, Tom Moore joined British Rail as a steward. He was aged 17 and freshly out of school. Today, he is the catering standards manager for Anglia

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Railways, based in Norwich. He believes the food on the one-hour-and-50-minute commute between Norwich and London's Liverpool Street has improved beyond recognition over the years. "We've come a long way since the infamous curly British Rail sandwich," he says. Moore recalls: "In 1983 everything was cooked on board the train from fresh. It was full silver-service dining at 100mph." During the journey, he and his colleagues would serve 42 sit-down meals. But standards were not quite what they are today. "The hygiene in those days was different," Moore admits. Back then, stewards had to cook with bottled gas. In 1988 Moore was chosen as the East Anglia regional representative to work on the Great Southern Railway in Australia. The journey times were the most obvious difference between Britain and down under - he worked on the five-day service between Adelaide and Perth. And although the food was also cooked on board, the galleys were far roomier. Moore describes it as "a fantastic experience". When the railways were privatised in 1999, he became an employee of Anglia Railways, moving off the trains and taking up his current role. There were noticeable improvements in standards, and the company bought new vehicles. Moore believes that his customers are now much happier as a result. The menu is healthier and contains light-lunch options, including chicken Caesar salad and Nova Scotia Scotch pancakes with syrup and blueberry compote. Although the hours can be long, Moore loves his job, because every day is different. "There are always new situations and people to meet," he says. Some faces remain the same, though. There are some commuters who have breakfasted and dined on the train for as long as he has been there. "There is a doctor who travels with us every day," he says. "When we recently updated our wine list, we thought it was only polite to ask his opinion." Career highlights 1983 Joins British Rail as a steward 1988 Spends five weeks working on the Great Southern Railway, Australia 1999 Moves off the trains to become catering standards manager for Anglia Railways
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