<i>IoS</i> letters, emails &amp; online postings (29 May 2011)

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With the removal of the last restaurant car on the railways, I began to think back to other services that have vanished and are still missed ("Prices rise, dining cars close, but the romance of the railway lives on", 22 May).

I remember the baggage car that made the journey so much more comfortable for passengers who did not have to negotiate piles of suitcases as they went to the buffet or toilet.

There was a simple system of tickets that did not require a mathematical genius to unravel the cheapest fare.

The railway porters, who either assisted you to board the train with your suitcases, which they placed on the rack in your compartment, or deposited your luggage in the baggage car in the full knowledge that it would still be there when you reached your destination.

Away from the railways, the charming young ladies with trays of ice creams that you could afford in the cinema.

The friendly bus conductors, who assisted the elderly on and off and provided a feeling of security for late-night travellers.

The park keeper, who kept a sharp eye over his domain and made a visit to your local park an enjoyable experience. What else will vanish in the years to come?

Colin Bower

Sherwood, Nottingham

Andrew Martin comments "our taste for railway romance, which has resulted in over 100 steam lines". In fact, now 200, and more planned. Heritage railways are an essential part of the UK's tourist offer, earning (directly) getting on for £100m a year. Not so much "romantic" as hard-nosed tourist attractions which have to hold their own in a very competitive industry.

James Hewett

Southwold, Suffolk

The article on Trudie Styler in The New Review (22 May) was disguised as a Q & A about her food preferences. In fact it was an advertisement for her new food range in Waitrose. This multi-millionaire markets herself as an eco-friendly, community-focused do-gooder whereas in reality she is a celebrity who in the course of the article boasts of her houses around the world, her olive grove and her lunches at San Lorenzo's in Kensington. I felt sick after reading that article. As a national newspaper, isn't it time to challenge and question the vast divisions in wealth within our society – not allow those at the extreme wealth end free advertising space to increase their already indecent fortunes?

Joan Healey

via email

In the early 1990s Graham Pink was fired from his nursing post on the grounds that he had breached confidentiality, his crime being that he wanted to expose the poor care that older people were receiving in hospital.

Year after year we hear appalling statements about older people not only being deprived of basic nursing care but also not being given respect or treated with dignity. What use are outcomes, policies, guidance notes or legislation when there appears to be a lack of understanding of what constitutes care? It isn't difficult and it isn't complicated; it's how we would all wish to be treated and it doesn't change with age.

Cllr Jenny Roach

Silverton, Exeter

Charles Darwent applauds Tracey Emin ("A little light entertainment", 22 May). But why? What have we now that, say, the Renaissance of Leonardo, Michelangelo & co didn't have? The split of practice and thought, art and science? The extreme relativism and triumph of feeling over reason? The neo-liberalism and sell-out to money and the market, to facile formula and quantity over quality? The dereliction of art school teaching – since the early 1980s and before? "Knowledge is power," said the philosopher, Francis Bacon. If only!

David Rodway

Woldingham, Surrey

On 28 May 2002 Wimbledon FC were effectively wiped from existence by a shameful FA decision to allow their team, league place and history to be taken over by a newly created club in a different part of the country. Fast forward to 21 May 2011 and AFC Wimbledon – formed, owned and run by the Wimbledon supporters – win a dramatic penalty shoot-out to reclaim their league place. And yet, this football story of the century was given just three paragraphs (Round-up, Sport, 22 May).

It would seem nothing in football registers unless it happens in the over-hyped, money-driven and thoroughly predictable world of the FA Premier League.

Brian Matthews

Sutton, Surrey

You note "the jury is out on the architect of the Big Society who is credited with detoxing the Tories" ("Genius of clueless", 22 May). But given the Conservative Party's attitude to spending cuts and welfare reform, I must ask if the Tories have ever been detoxed?

Tim Mickleburgh

Grimsby, Lincolnshire

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