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The Railway Children (1970)

G  |   |  Family, Drama  |  26 December 1970 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 2,672 users  
Reviews: 36 user | 13 critic

After the enforced absence of their father, three children move with their mother to Yorkshire, where during their adventures they attempt to discover the reason for his disappearance.



(celebrated novel), (screenplay)
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Title: The Railway Children (1970)

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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Waterbury (as Miss Dinah Sheridan)
Albert Perks (as Mr. Bernard Cribbins)
William Mervyn ...
Old Gentleman (as Mr. William Mervyn)
Iain Cuthbertson ...
Charles Waterbury (as Mr. Iain Cuthbertson)
Roberta 'Bobbie' Waterbury (as Miss Jenny Agutter)
Sally Thomsett ...
Phyllis Waterbury (as Miss Sally Thomsett)
Gary Warren ...
Peter Waterbury (as Master Gary Warren)
Peter Bromilow ...
Ann Lancaster ...
Gordon Whiting ...
Beatrix Mackey ...
Deddie Davies ...
David Lodge ...
Christopher Witty ...
Brenda Cowling ...


The film opens in a happy, comfortable upper middle-class home in Edwardian London. One night in 1905, the three children see their father usher two strangers into his study. After an argument he leaves with them and does not return. They and their mother fall on hard times and eventually move to a cottage in the country. Yet they keep their spirits up and find ways to help others. Fascinated by the nearby railway, they wave to the passengers faithfully every day, and their vigilance and courage prevent an accident. Their kindness makes friends of some important people who can help solve the mystery of their missing father. Written by Paul Emmons <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Railway, the Children . . . and the wonderful secret they'll share with you ! [UK] See more »


Family | Drama


G | See all certifications »




Release Date:

26 December 1970 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Aseman lapset  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Sally Thomsett, who played Phyllis, the younger sister, is actually 2 years older than Jenny Agutter who played big sister Bobbie. See more »


When the toy train blows up we see the dog running out of the house into the bushes on a clearly spring or summer's day. However, it is supposed to be at Christmas time. The next time we have an outdoor shot, it is snowing heavily. See more »


Peter Waterbury: I'm very sorry I haven't got tuppence to give you like father does.
Albert Perks: Hey just stop that please, I wasn't thinking about no tuppence. I just came to say sorry your mama wasn't so well and to ask how she finds herself this evening. And I brought you some sweet briar, very sweet. Tuppence indeed!
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the end credit captions are displayed the shot tracks towards a steam locomotive, in front of which are gathered the principal cast. They are surrounded by extras portraying local townspeople, who wave and say goodbye to the audience. All the while, Jenny Agutter is preoccupied with writing something on a slate. As the camera reaches her, she holds it up to display the words "The End". See more »


Pretty Polly Perkins of Paddington Green
Written by Harry Clifton
Performed by Perks at the birthday party
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

everyone's favourite Yorkshire-set steam train tale
6 February 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This almost perfect cinematic rendition of Edith Nesbit's popular children's novel follows the lives of Roberta (Bobbie), Phyllis, and Peter, and their mother, after their father is unfairly accused of treason and sent to prison. They go to live in an almost uninhabitable house in the country which stands near a railway line – mum writes stories to make enough money for food and candles, while the children spend much of their time around the railway station and, specifically, waving to one particular train to 'send their love to father'.

Always an involving and clever novel, the characters are here brought to life under the perceptive direction of Lionel Jeffries (better known as a fine character actor). Jenny Agutter plays Bobbie, while Sally Thomsett and Gary Warren are her sister and brother. Their mother is Dinah Sheridan, while the other memorable characters are played by Bernard Cribbins (Perks the railway-man) and William Mervyn (the old gentleman on the train).

'The Railway Children' is gentle entertainment from another age, but does its job beautifully. As we watch Bobbie grow up with the worries of an absent parent jostling against her own needs both to be alone and to have fun, we can only rejoice when events come together at the close of the picture. Throughout we have a sense of time and place – be it from the steam trains, the university paper chase, or the red flannelette petticoats worn by the girls (and used to avert disaster!).

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