‘The Railway Children Return’ reviews round-up: ‘Feel-good’ sequel is ‘charmingly old-fashioned’

The first reviews are in for the new sequel to The Railway Children!

The Railway Children Return sees Call the Midwife star Jenny Agutter reprise her role as Roberta ‘Bobbie’ Waterbury from the original 1970 film.

Described as “an enchanting and heart-warming adventure for a new generation,” the movie arrives in cinemas next week.

Agutter is joined in the cast by Sheridan Smith (Cilla) as Bobbie’s daughter, alongside Tom Courtenay (45 Years) and John Bradley (Game of Thrones).

Set in 1944, nearly four decades after the events of the first film, the story follows a new group of children being evacuated to a Yorkshire village during the Second World War.


The official synopsis reads: “1944 – As life in Britain’s cities becomes increasingly perilous, 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.

“There to meet them on the train station platform are Bobbie Waterbury (Jenny Agutter, reprising her iconic role in the original film), her daughter, Annie (Sheridan Smith), and grandson Thomas (Austin Haynes), and with their help the evacuees are soon settling into their new life in the countryside.

“When the children discover injured American soldier Abe (KJ Aikens) hiding out in the railyard at Oakworth Station, they are thrust into a dangerous quest to assist their new friend who, like them, is a long way from home.”


The Railways Children Return is released in the UK on Friday 15th July.

We’ve rounded up a spoiler-free selection of reviews to help you decide if you’d like to watch the movie:


“A charming update on a beloved classic … the film contains more than enough heart, humour, and spirited performances from its young cast to prove a charming update on the original, while also tackling some interesting themes that will resonate with today’s audiences in different ways.” ★★★ – Radio Times


“This is a film with a touch more savvy about the real world than its 1970 forebear, at least partly because it has child actors who are the same age as their characters … It’s an amiable and ingenious tribute to the innocent, good-natured spirit of the original.” – The Guardian


“[A] charmingly old-fashioned yarn … Long overdue The Railway Children follow-up is a patriotic British heart-warmer.” ★★★ – The Mirror


“Wholesome British children’s fare … Effectively piling nostalgia upon nostalgia upon nostalgia into a triple-layered Victorian sponge of particularly English sweetness, this good-natured, resolutely old-fashioned film will likely make any adults who grew up on Jeffries’ original a little misty-eyed.” – Variety


“The wholesome values and the beauty of the Yorkshire landscape make it a likable and generous feel-good story, but it’s so rooted in the original as to be unable to escape it.” – What to Watch


“Matthews is a terrific director of children and if this picture never quite recaptures the charm and innocence of the five-star original, it succeeds in evoking its spirit.” ★★★★ – Daily Mail


The Railway Children Return will be out in the US later this year.

It’s released in New Zealand on 25th August, and in Australia on 15th September.

The original The Railway Children movie is available on DVD on Amazon.