28 MARCH 1998, Page 22

LETTERS Off the rails

Sir: I enjoy and profit from Christopher Fildes's column. Indeed, it alone justifies the cost of the subscription.

Just lately, however, the time that I should be spending on thinking about his comments as they touch my own invest- ment strategy has been taken over by Mr I.K. Gricer (City and suburban, 7 March). Do his initials stand for Isambard King- dom? Was, or is there, a Gricer of note in the railway world? The name is strangely evocative. Can it be merely the invention of a journalist? Does it owe anything to Mr Grouser of wartime Children's Hour?

John Edwards

Dunford Barton, Anthonys Woking, Surrey

Christopher Fades writes: My railway cor- respondent, I.K. Gricer (`Issie' to his fel- low apprentices at Swindon in the good old days) is the author of such classics as The Poppet Valves of George Jackson Churchward. A gricer is a duffel-coated figure standing in the path of an advanc- ing steam locomotive and complaining that the number on the buffer-beam is inauthentic, but whether gricers take their name from I.K., or he from them, railway scholars dispute.