The Anonymous Widower

Gluten-Free Food on East Coast

Readers may think, I’m just a whingeing coeliac, but no, I’m looking at this from  a marketing point of view, as because I know that when there is nothing suitable to eat, I don’t! So that means that every trip I do up and down the East Coast Main Line costs them probably at least a tenner each way in lost revenue. Also, how many coeliacs don’t book say from London to York, because they know if they drive there’s a nice place for a meal halfway!

There are also alternatives at present, as because I live in East Anglia, I change trains at Peterbrough and as I usually have an hour or so, I can walk across to Marks and Spencer in the Queensgate Shopping Centre and have something in Cafe Revive or one of several other places in the city centre. But as I said in an earlier post, the route from the station to the shopping centre is not good.

If I move to London as I intend and I was going north for the day, I’d walk across to St. Pancras and have a gluten-free breakfast in Carluccio’s. I hope my favourite Italian caffes will book a place in the new King’s Cross, as it develops. But if it doesn’t, it’ll always be worth the walk!

But why should I have to, when I’m going on the train?

So what should they do in my opinion?

  1. East Coast offer a ready-made cottage pie in their Light Bites.  As it is just microwaved there is no contamination problem. so this and I think the fish pie could easily be made gluten-free.  After all, most peoples’ cottage and fish pies are gluten-free anyway, but then some food manufacturers can’t resist adding flour to everything!
  2. A nice curry would also be gluten-free.  Incidentally, curries are often the gluten-free meal on many airlines.  I remember one I had was excellent. 
  3.  There is also a smoked salmon salad, which should be gluten-free, but they’d run out last time I asked for it.
  4. I notice there is a full English breakfast.  I might try it one day leaving out the sausage.  If they are prepared individually, it should be possible to deliver them gluten-free.  That is just systems and perhaps a little bit of training. 
  5. The choice of snacks is important, as some are suitable and others are not! Most coeliac-friendly pubs just stock the basic unflavoured Kettle ones. I didn’t check the crisps on East Coast, but as they were Walkers, they’d have been marked suitable for coeliacs if they were. I’ve been in pubs, where none were!
  6. Coeliacs don’t drink beer, so perhaps a bottled or canned proper cider, like Aspall or Weston might be an idea. That may not be possible, but wine is fine though, although I find some don’t taste too good with my stroke.


Incidentally, I’d travelled on GNER some years ago and I had asked the waiter, if the salmon was gluten-free.  The chef came and said it was, but he'[d cook it personally to avoid any cross contamination.  I remember, it was very good.

 I don’t always want or need service like that, but with just a little bit of thought and virtually no extra expenditure, train companies might actually increase revenue.


August 16, 2010 - Posted by | Food, Transport | ,


  1. Have talked to the various railway companies re the provision of gluten free…and non of them want to know.
    Its not a matter of the industry not talking to potential markets…its more of the Fat Controllers ignoring us…

    Have we heard that before??


    Comment by Apricot | August 16, 2010 | Reply

  2. I agree, it really would be very simple. Regarding crisps, one day last week I was in Starbucks andthey had crisps, branded “real handcooked crisps” and they were GF and excellent – even the cheese and onion ones were GF.


    Comment by Liz P | August 16, 2010 | Reply

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