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 Children.

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.


The Railway Children Return

Director: Morgon Matthews
Cast: Sheridan Smith, Jenny Agutter, Tom Courtenay

UK Release: Cinemas 15th July 2022