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The Railway Children

The newly formed Keighley & Worth Valley Society was thrust into the limelight, when Lionel Jeffries selected the railway to be the backdrop for his adaption of  E. Nesbit’s “The Railway Children”.

The Railway Children (1970)

A Classic Film

The 1970 film version of Edith Nesbit’s story The Railway Children brought the Keighley & Worth Valley into the limelight, with the railway and the surrounding valley used as the backdrop for the film. The story revolves around a family with three children – Roberta (also known as Bobbie), Peter and Phyllis, their father was arrested on suspicion of being a spy.

The mother hides this from the rest of of the family and they had to move to the countryside, due to becoming impoverished. They move to a cottage called Three Chimneys in Yorkshire near Oakworth Railway Station. The rest is history…

Locations

Oakworth Station
Seen throughout the film for a variety of events and still recognisable to this day. The Work place of ‘Perks’ the station porter, Peter’s coal mine, the presentation ceremony, the ‘shabby Russian’ and the homecoming of the railway children’s father.

Mytholmes Tunnel & Embankment
Seen in the film during the paper chase and is where ‘Jim’ falls and injures his leg. The embankment to the left of the tunnel mouth is where the landslide was filmed. Nearby on the railway line the railway children used their red flannel petticoats as flags to warn the driver of the 11.29 train of the danger.

Oakworth Level Crossing
Seen throughout the film and in particular when Mr Perks opens the gate for The Scotts Flyer. For filming, the gates were changed from the normal single gate to double gates.

Railway Cottage
Located across the level crossing from Oakworth station. The first house on the left named ‘Railway
Cottage’ was the home of Mr Perk’s.

Other locations included Bents House situated above Oxenhope Railway Station, various location around Haworth including, St Mary’s Churchyard, Brontë Parsonage Museum and the iconic cobbled Main Street.

Locomotives & Rolling Stock

Great Western Railway 0-6-0PT Pannier Tank No.5775

No.5775 was built at Swindon in 1929. During British Railways, ownership was ‘shedded’ at Danygraig, Carmarthen and Pontypool Road from where it was withdrawn in January 1963 when, like several others, it was withdrawn of the class, it was sold into private ownership. No. 5775 was sold to London Transport for use on the Underground system on, mainly, nighttime engineers’ trains. In the LT fleet, it received the London Transport maroon livery and took the number L89 and served in the capital until it was purchased for preservation by the KWVR in January 1970.

Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Class 25 ‘Ironclad’ 0-6-0 No.957

The loco had worked on the national network for 72 years before being withdrawn from service by British Rail in 1959. No.957 was built by Beyer Peacock of Manchester in 1887 and was one of the last 50 to be built in its class. After being withdrawn from service the loco was purchased by Mr Tony Cox, and transferred eventually to the railway in 1965, three ways before the re-opening. The loco was painted in a green livery and gained the unofficial name “Green Dragon” while taking part in the filming. At 134 years old, The most recent restoration was completed in time for the 51st anniversary of the Railway Children and took pride of place over the weekend.

North Eastern Clerestory Inspection Saloon, no. 21661 “Old Gentleman’s Coach”
Originally built for Stockton & Darlington Railway in 1871, the coach didn’t become an inspection saloon until 1876 when taken in by North Eastern Railway and converted. The coach was withdrawn after nearly 100 years of service in 1969 and was purchased for preservation by KWVR Society member, John Dawson. The coach found fame when it was used as the “Old Gentleman’s Coach” in the Railway Children Film.

Cast

  • Jenny Agutter as Roberta ‘Bobbie’ Waterbury
  • Sally Thomsett as Phyllis Waterbury
  • Gary Warren as Peter Waterbury
  • Dinah Sheridan as Mother, Mrs. Waterbury
  • Bernard Cribbins as Albert Perks
  • William Mervyn as Old Gentleman
  • Iain Cuthbertson as Father, Charles Waterbury
  • Peter Bromilow as Doctor Forrest
  • Ann Lancaster as Ruth

The Railway Children Return (2022)

40 Years Later...

Inspired by one of the most beloved British family films of all time, THE RAILWAY CHILDREN RETURN is an enchanting, moving and heart-warming adventure for a new generation.

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.

Directed By:

  • Morgan Matthews

Posters

The Railway Children Return Posters.

Locomotives

45596 London Midland & Scottish Railway 5XP ‘Jubilee’ Class  ‘Bahamas’

As steam was drawing to a close, British Railways made one last attempt to improve its steam fleet. In 1961 ‘Bahamas’ was chosen by BR for its very last experiment, the culmination of steam power development started with ‘Rocket’ in the 19th century.

Saved for preservation by the Bahamas Locomotive Society (BLS), 45596 was one of a handful of engines selected by BR to haul a series of embryonic ‘Return to Steam’ excursions in the early 1970s.

5820 United States of America Transportation Corp. Class S160

Purchased by the KWVR from Polish State Railways in 1977, 5820 was a welcome addition to the fleet at a time when trains on the branch were getting heavier and more powerful locomotives were needed. No. 5820 was built in 1945 by Lima of Ohio for the U.S. Army war effort in Europe, being shipped directly to Poland. After service on Poland State Railways and re-numbered TR203-474, the locomotive reached Haworth and entered service the year after arriving.

43924 Midland Railway 4F

After a working life of 45 years, 43924, was consigned to the scrapyard of Woodham Bros. in Barry, South Wales. It secured its place in preservation folklore in 1970 becoming the very first of over 200 locomotives to leave the scrapyard for a life in preservation when a small band of enthusiasts, operating under the name of ‘The 4F Society’, finally gained permission to purchase and remove it. Completed by the Midland Railway in 1920, 3924, as it was numbered then, spent only 3 years in their ownership, 25 years with the LMS and finally 17 years with British Railways. Bought for preservation in 1970 by The 4F Society, 43924 was sold 20 years later to the KWVR and has, therefore, as this is being written in 2020, been in our ownership for longer than any of its predecessors.

Cast

Starring:

  • Jenny Agutter
  • Sheridan Smith
  • Tom Courtenay
  • John Bradley
  • Beau Gadsdon
  • KJ Aikens
  • Austin Haynes
  • Eden Hamilton
  • Zac Cudby