I grew up in the UK as well, and I suppose that a lot of the children's books which were introduced to me were those books, though, I must admit that I don't remember all that much from them. There were more unusual aspects I remember, more the fables to try and teach something about morals to kids and whatever.
I also remember the much older television series which used a mix of the eyes moving around and the model trains moving on some sort of model railway system. I think it was on ITV or something, dunno.... at any rate, I think that made me interested in model railways as a kid, though I did grow out of it. My father on the other hand kept being interested in model railways throughout his life, and in retirement, started looking into modelling narrow gauge railways which were around in the 1950s not far from where he grew up. I don't think he's interested in the actual setup of it, but rather having the models.....
Eh.... I find it somewhat ironic that of all things, I'm actually far more interested in modern and high speed rail than steam trains. While they are quaint, HSR is the future, and perhaps we will see another, albeit different, golden age of rail. We might only see it in Europe and Asia, but I'm excited for it.>>1261173
A lot of the British railways are shit now. One of the big reasons is the fact that many railways failed to upgrade from their Victorian construction. I much prefer modern European railways over British ones, but that said, a lot of the Germanic steam locomotives were much more impressive, at least for their size and power as long distance locomotives.
Ultimately, Britain has one man to blame for this: Beeching.