During the bombing of British cities in the Second World War, more than three million children were evacuated to the countryside. Some youngsters loved the change of scenery and the families who took them in. Others found the new conditions frightening and traumatic. And a few children made the transition into a grand adventure.

Home Away From Home

The Railway Children Return, a Blue Fox Studios family drama, relates the story of three such adventurous kids. Based loosely on the book by E. Nesbit, the current movie is a sequel to the 1970 film by the same name.

London kids Lily (Beau Gadsdon), Ted (Zac Cudby) and Pattie (Eden Hamilton) travel by railway to Oakworth, England. The siblings vow to stick together. While playing hide and seek, the children discover Abe (KJ Aikens), a Black American soldier hiding in a railway car. Abe ran away due to racism from his fellow soldiers and now fears for his life. The four children enlist the help of their fellow evacuees and the railway station master to help their new friend.

BAFTA- and Emmy award-winner Jenny Agutter (Call the Midwife) reprises her role as Bobbie Waterbury more than 50 years later. Agutter played Bobbie as a child star in the original film, set in 1904. She now stars as the grown-up Bobbie, living in Oakworth with her daughter, Annie (Sheridan Smith, The Royle Family). The ladies decide to give Lily, Ted and Pattie a temporary home for the duration of the war. When the women discover the kids’ plot to help Abe, will they bail out? Or will the mother-daughter team prove every bit as brave and helpful as the children?

Delightful Diversity

The railway children helped a friend in need without calculating the risk. We are called to do the same. We may not find mistreated service people in railway cars, but we all know someone who’s treated poorly due to their different behaviour, looks or social status. How can we show these individuals that God delights in them as much as He cherishes the “beautifuls” of society? Our answer is in the Bible.

In Romans 12:16, the Apostle Paul tells us to “Be friendly with everyone. Don’t be proud and feel that you know more than others. Make friends with ordinary people” (Contemporary English Version). God made us different on purpose. He delights in diversity. The best way to show our love for God is to treat others—especially those different from us—with respect and kindness. Just like the railway children. And just like Jesus.

The Railway Children Return Trivia

  • This film marks the fourth time Jenny Agutter has starred in a rendition ofThe Railway Children. Agutter played Bobbie in the miniseries in 1968 and the original film in 1970. In 2000, she acted as the mother in the made-for-TV movie.
  • Agutter playing Roberta for a third time over 54 years breaks the world record for playing the same character over the longest period in a movie.
  • Director Morgan Matthews originally considered Bernard Cribbins to reprise his role of Albert, the station master, from the 1970 film. But Cribbins, then in his 90s, declined the role due to his ailing wife

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