Railway passengers on the Cross Country network are to lose their hot food buffet car service.
Arriva will get a subsidy of £1.05bn
Arriva, which will take over the network from Virgin in November, says a hot food trolley will be available for first class passengers.
There will be a cold food trolley for others on the network which stretches 1,600 miles from Aberdeen to Penzance, and from Stansted to Cardiff.
Opponents said buffet cars should have been part of the contract.
David Ridgewell, regional director of the rail campaigners group Transport 2000, said: "I want to have a decent rail service for the people of the South West, so that they have an experience where they don't want to fly or use the car.
"That includes making sure they have a hot meal and a decent refreshment service."
He added: "If you travel from Penzance to Bristol on a Friday night you are standing, so I don't see how these trollies are going to get down the train."
Sunderland-based Arriva said an increasing number of passengers were reluctant to leave their seats, demand for hot food was low and only 17% of customers travelled on journeys longer than three hours.
"The traditional on-board buffet or shop is not valued in the same way it once was," it said.
"Arriva Cross Country will provide an extensively stocked trolley service throughout the day on Cross Country services to give passengers a quality at-seat catering service."
Arriva, which already runs rail services in Wales as well as buses across the UK, will get a subsidy worth £1.05bn over the life of the franchise, until 2016.
The DfT said the removal of buffet cars would allow for extra seating.
A spokesman said: "Given it is a subjective matter whether individual passengers prefer buffet cars to trolley catering, the DfT does not specify catering but leaves it to the decision of individual operators."