The Railway Children is a wonderful story . The story tells about three children, Roberta (Bobbie), Peter and Phyllis are living a lovely, secure life at Edgecomb Villa. Their father returns home after being away on business, two unknown men come to visit him in the evening after supper, and he simply disappears. Neither the reader nor the children know what has happened to him until Bobbie makes a chance discovery and learns the horrible truth.
In the intervening time, their mother, a capable and charming woman, takes her children to live in the country near a railway station, because they must "play at being poor for a while." The children handle their new situation with grace and wit, spending hours hanging about the railway station and generally keeping themselves busy, and in the process becoming fast friends with the porter, Perks, and the station master. They also become acquainted with their own old gentleman who lends a hand to help them time and again.Bobbie is the eldest and sweetest of the children, with a longing to be truly good. Peter is the boy, who is madly in love with trains, stubbornly refuses to be pushed around, and exhibits an extraordinary courage in the rescue of a baby and a young man in a train tunnel. Phyllis is the youngest, a funny, clumsy child with good intentions that often seem to go awry.
This sentimental favorite children's book has the moral values of E. Nesbitt, who was a famous liberal activist (Fabian Socialist) in England. She creates a household utopian vision of a world where people are naturally good and where parents raise their children to be helpful and honest and brave.
This provides the background charm for a really lovely tale about a family in distress who sticks together bravely and provides a shining example to all around them, while being aided by equally high-minded and kind folks around them.
A knock on the door at the idyllic middle class town home of the children ends with a tragedy that they can scarcely understand. But Mother is brave and despite rumors of terrible things, they make their way to a more modest home in the country, next to a railway line. The children become friends with the trains and the regular commuters who wave at them. Their fascination with the train results in a heroic rescue. Meanwhile, their situation is sometimes difficult, and they develop some remarkable strategies for getting aid. There is a happy ending.
The morals taught to the children are particularly British (helpful, kind, brave) but certainly apply to us as well. The goodness that the children spread is really a lovely message and contributes to the charm and longevity of this great story.