Readers' letters - September 6

We can blame Victorians for '˜railway' stations ...

Friday, 8th September 2017, 4:52 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:44 pm

I read with interest your correspondent, Mr M N Wooff’s, letter (WP Letters, August 28). In reply I have to ask him under which education system is he referring? He should realise that all language is fluid.

New words come in while others fade away into oblivion, only to be resurrected by historians or me!

For example, who uses the word Walkman these days and who, in the Walkman’s days, would have ever heard of a smartphone, even less a smart meter?

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I agree certain parts of our language are not open for discussion, with Mr Wooff illustrating two examples: spoke/spoken and took/taken. However, it is the third example with which I must disagree, that of the train/railway station.

What vehicular transport does one catch at a bus station, then at a taxi rank, then at a coach station and then at a tram stop? Yes, Mr Wooff, bus, taxi, coach and tram. Now, where does one catch a train? Logically there can be only one answer: a train station. It should never have been called a ‘railway station’. After all, one does not catch a railway, though I accept that one may catch a railway train but, come on, who calls a bus an autobus these days?

Using this logic, a bus station, taxi rank and coach station should all be called ‘road stations’, for this is the structure on which buses et al travel. Thus we must lay the blame with the Victorian ‘education system’ for misnaming the station and various generations from then on have perpetuated this misnomer.

It is only the modern generation who have seen the real sense in calling it what it should have been called for nearly 200 years: a train station. Fortunately we have transport providers who accept both terminologies.

My personal gripe is with those who are either illiterate or lazy in the use of certain homophones.

Most notably ‘there’, which now seems to be universally used for ‘their’ and ‘they’re’ and thus leading to the reader having to decipher which should be the correct homophone to use.

Neil Swindlehurst

via email

Lessons in tolerance

I think most people just want to live in peace and have a secure job that pays a fair wage that enables them to have a nice home, a holiday, eat well and be healthy.

Most people start off friendly. One of my granddaughters goes to a good school in London, a 45- minute Tube ride from King’s Cross railway station.

She is in a class of 30, only eight of whom are English. She is very happy in this school, as is her sister.

One of her best friends is Chinese, and there are children from South Korea, Russia, Poland, India, etc in her class.

All get on very well and there is never any trouble.

When playing in any of the many local parks, we see her and her sister having great fun with children from all over the world.

All the parents seem to get on well, are polite, share the turns on the swings, slides, climbing frames, rocking horses and sandpits with never any sign of angst.

When, where and why does all this go so badly wrong? Why would anyone want to fly a ballistic missile over Japan or any other country?

Is there an answer to racial hate?

Perhaps “we” try too hard to get involved, to “force” integration and multiculturalism.

Time is a great healer.

We can only hope.

David Quarrie

via email

Kim v Trump is not our fight

The situation in North Korea is very worrying and the matter is almost insolvable due to the nature of both Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump.

Kim well knows that if he is attacked by the US, China will enter the fray on his side, so he is behaving like a naughty schoolboy who knows he cannot be punished.

Like any child, he is pushing the envelope to see just how far he can push, without any regard to the consequences for his


The blustering Trump has been snookered by China’s attitude.

The only thing that concerns me personally is that Theresa May will allow us to be drawn into any conflict between the US and North Korea.

Peter Hyde