The Rev Awdry wasn't a fan of the TV series. Apparently he tried to base his books around real railway operations (as far as is possible with talking steam engines). He said the TV series departed too far from what would happen on a working railway.
I liked the ones he did based on the Snowdon Mountain railway. The illustrations were all recognisabe locations.
But that Guardian journalist is having the last laugh. She is being paid to write that load of absolute bollocks.
I'm thinking of doing an article on the post-feminist deconstruction of Moomintroll. Should be worth as few quid. I'll probably have to die my hair a trendy colour and get a few piercings to get it taken seriously though.