It seems strange that it’s taken over half a century for a sequel to appear
for the much loved children’s film The Railway Children (1970). Anyway, for
reasons only known to the producers, the time appears right for The Railway
Children Return. A title I’m sure someone must have pondered over for mere
minutes before they came up with it.
In our new adventure time has moved on to 1944 – Britain is at war with
Germany and three evacuee children – Lily (Beau Gadsdon), Pattie (Eden
Hamilton) and Ted (Zac Cudby) Watts – are sent by their mother from Salford
to the Yorkshire village of Oakworth, the home of the original Railway
On arrival at the station the trio, after being shunned by the villagers,
their noisy and loudmouth brats, are taken under the wings of Bobbie
Waterbury (Jenny Agutter, reprising her iconic role in the original film)
and her daughter, Annie (Sheridan Smith).
It wouldn’t be a Railway Children’s story without the railway being
involved and it’s in the railyard where the three kids along with
Waterbury’s grandson, Thomas (Austin Haynes) find black American soldier
Abe (KJ Aikens) who’s ran away from the army after he’s beaten by the
racist Military Police for fraternising with the local white population.
Everyone tries their best in The Railway Children Return but it’s just
missing that spark that made the original so special. Whether it’s the lack
of innocence that the original had or the lack of any real spark in the
cast, John Bradley (Game of Thrones) is the new station master and
unfortunately he’s no Bernard Cribbins, Cribbins played the original
stationmaster so memorably in the original, it’s hard to say.
The Railway Children Return isn’t a bad film and young children will no
doubt love this kid friendly adventure, but a sequel that we’ve waited over
fifty years for should just be a bit more memorable.