The Railway Children

Synopsis: 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.
Genre: Drama, Family
Director(s): Lionel Jeffries
Production: Universal
  Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
109 min

We were not

the Railway Children to begin with.

I don't suppose we even thought

about railways

except as a means of getting

to the theatre and the zoo.

We were just ordinary

suburban children

and we lived

with Father and Mother

in an ordinary

red brick fronted villa

with coloured glass

in the front door...

Come on.

... a tiled passage

that was called a hall

and big fires

in big fireplaces.

We even had a gas fire

in the breakfast room

and a servant's bell board.

In fact,

every modern convenience.

Chins up!

There we three of us.

Now let's arrange your pretty hair.

That's me, I'm Roberta.

They call me Bobbie,

sometimes Lanky.

I'm the eldest, worst luck.

That's Phyllis, who means well.

And that's Peter,

who wants to be an engineer.

And don't forget

to watch the dickey bird.

Watch the birdie.

Mother did not spend all her time

paying dull calls to dull ladies

and sitting dully at home waiting

for dull ladies to pay calls on her.

She was always there,

with us.

We had a father

who was just perfect.

Her light's growing dim

and if it goes out, then she's dead.

She says she would be get well again

if children believed in fairies.

- Do you believe in fairies?

- Yes.

That's not loud enough.

Do you believe in fairies?


It's still not loud enough.

Do you believe in fairies?


Yes, I certainly do!

Mmm, it smells gorgeous.

It's fabulous,

absolutely fabulous.

Now altogether... one, two, three.

Well done!

Happy Christmas!

I love you.

You will think that we ought

to have been very happy

and we were but we did not know

how happy

till the pretty life at Edgecombe Villa

was over and done with

and we had to live

a very different life indeed.

Peter my boy, come here.

Dad... it's perfect.

It's more perfect

than any one could ever dream of.

Thank you, Dad.

The dreadful change

came quite suddenly.

You heaving brute!

And that was the last we saw

of poor Potts.

What a wreck!

- Is there any hope?

- Hope?

Of course, it'll want hope yes,

and a new valve.

I'll tell you what, I'll give up

Saturday afternoon to it.

Yes, and you can help me.

I hate doing a job like this

especially at Christmas.

Who on earth is that?

An Englishman's house is his castle, but

I wish they had moats and drawbridges!

Come in.


Please, sir. There are two gentlemen

wish to see you.

I've shown them into the study, sir,

I hope that was all right?

Excuse me.

I wish we did have

a moat and drawbridge.

Then if we didn't want anyone to...

I've never heard anything

so preposterous. When? Who?

- Why's Daddy shouting?

- I don't know, dear.

Come in.

Yes, Ruth?

What is it?

Please, ma'am, the Master wants you

to just step into the study.

Look, I'm not going to say a thing!

Come in.

I will not!

All right, cabby,

Scotland Yard.

It's bed-time.

Ruth will put you to bed.

But you promised we could stay up late.

Daddy was going to play with us.

Father's been

called away... on business.

Go up at once darlings, please.

It wasn't bad news,

was it, Mummy?

Is anyone dead or...

Oh, no, nobody's dead.

I can't tell you anything about it tonight.

Up you go.

Well, good night then.


What's up?

Ask me no questions

and I'll tell you no lies.

You'll know soon enough.

- Phyl?

- Yes.

If Mother doesn't want us to know

she's been crying then we won't know.

- That's all.

- All right.

She's gone into London,

that's all I know.

Now just you eat up.

Some dire calamity's happening,

I just know it.

Good evening, Mrs Waterbury.

- Good evening, ma'am.

- Good evening, Sally.

Oh, it's so cold!

Let's get to the fire, Peter, come on.

My darlings, those men last night

did bring very bad news

and Father will be away

for some time

Is it something to do

with the Government, Mummy?

Yes... yes, it is.

Now it's bed time, my darlings.

And don't worry.

It will all come right in the end.

Don't you worry either

because we'll be as good as gold.

Oh, we used to say life was so dull...

Nothing ever happened like in books.

Now something has happened.

Yes, it has

and it's made Mother unhappy.

Everything's horrid...

...just horrid.

Stairs... stairs... stairs...

Everything continued to be

perfectly horrid for some weeks.

Mother was nearly always out,

the between maid was sent away...

... and Aunt Emma

came on a visit.

- Good afternoon, children.

- Good afternoon, Aunt Emma.

Your mother has sent for me

in her distress,

and I'm here for a while

but not for long.

I'm off to India as a governess

and as I shall be busy preparing

for my arduous journey,

I shall require you to be seen

and not heard.

Preferably to be not seen

and not heard.

Children should be kept

in their proper places.

- Do you understand?

- Yes, Aunt Emma.

- Yes, Aunt Emma.

- Excellent.

You may kiss me

if you wish.

# You can hear them sigh

and wish to die

# You can see them wink

the other eye

# At the man who broke

the Bank at Monte Carlo

Altogether now

# As I walked along the Bois Boulogne

with an inde... #

I have asked you not to use them utensils

in that manner.

I was up at four this morning

cleaning them

as if I haven't got enough to do

what with the between maid leaving

and now your aunt asking me

to heave bloomin' great boxes about

like I was a navvy or something.

- Ruth.

- Yes?

There's no need to be so rude.

Cook was just trying to cheer us up.

Rate this script:4.0 / 1 vote

Lionel Jeffries

Lionel Charles Jeffries (10 June 1926 – 19 February 2010) was an English actor, screenwriter and film director. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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