THERE’S a scene in The Railway Children Return when Bobbie, played by Jenny Agutter, is standing on the platform at Oakworth Station and is asked by her daughter: “Do you remember arriving, Mum?’

“Like it was yesterday,” comes the reply.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Sheridan Smith with Jenny Agutter at Oakworth Station Sheridan Smith with Jenny Agutter at Oakworth Station

The family adventure, released in cinemas on July 15, is the sequel to beloved 1970s film, The Railway Children. With Jenny Agutter returning as Bobbie, and filming locations once again including Oakworth, Haworth and the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, it has huge nostalgic appeal, while creating a charming new story for a new generation. The stars of the film will arrive at Oakworth station on July 3, for a northern premiere at Keighley Picture House.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A scene shot in Haworth A scene shot in Haworth

It is set in 1944, when three children - Lily, Pattie and Ted Watts - are evacuated from Salford to the Yorkshire countryside. Arriving at Oakworth Station, they’re met by Bobbie, her daughter Annie, grandson Thomas and stationmaster Perks.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: John Bradley as Perks - grandson of the original stationmaster John Bradley as Perks - grandson of the original stationmaster

Exploring their new surroundings, the children discover a young man in Thomas’s secret hideout. They suspect he’s a German spy, but it turns out he’s an American GI with an injured leg. And, he tells the children, he’s on a secret mission.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The children with American GI Abe, played by AJ AikensThe children with American GI Abe, played by AJ Aikens

Producer Jemma Rodgers had the idea for a sequel when her daughter was learning about evacuee children at school. “Because her journey to us as an adopted child had been via a train, it affected her profoundly,” says Jemma.

Looking for a film that reflected her experience, Rodgers turned to The Railway Children, Lionel Jeffries’ adaptation of E Nesbit’s book. The story of siblings Bobbie, Phyllis and and Peter, who move from London to Yorkshire in the wake of their father’s disappearance is inextricably linked to the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, where it was famously shot. Watching the film with her daughter, Jemma, who has lived in Haworth, realised that all the places have remained unchanged: “I thought, ‘Why hasn’t anyone done a sequel?’”

She had the idea of weaving in the experience of black American soldiers in Britain. The film is set in July 1944, when child evacuations were still taking place, and American forces were in bases across the UK.

StudioCanal loved the project but it rested on one key cast member - Jenny Agutter. “She’s the reason the film exists, really,” says director Morgan Matthews. “Her connection to the original is what a lot of people remember.”

Jenny and Morgan went through Danny Brocklehurst’s script to develop Bobbie and her place in the new film. “Jenny wanted to know what Bobbie had been doing since the original was set,” says Matthews. “Her point was ‘I don’t think she’s been in the kitchen making jam for the past 40 years!’”

Says Jenny: “The idea of having a sequel in the ‘40s, I think would have delighted Nesbit, because she always believed that through her stories and her imagination, she exists in different times.”

Jenny is joined by Sheridan Smith as Bobbie’s school headmistress daughter Annie and Tom Courtenay as kindly Uncle Walter. Austin Haynes, 13, who attends Bradford theatre school Articulate, plays Jenny’s grandson, Thomas.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Sir Tom Courtenay with Sheridan Smith, Jenny Agutter and the children Sir Tom Courtenay with Sheridan Smith, Jenny Agutter and the children

The rapport he and the other youngsters had off-screen helped their bond on-screen, says Sheridan: “They became a little gang. Just to watch them you’d giggle. Because they had that bond, that came across on camera. It was their energy, and friendship that filtered through. They’re the heart and soul, which is exactly how it should be.”

Having made The Railway Children at the age of 17, Jenny Agutter moved to America for work. When she returned to the UK years later she was blindsided by the level of affection for the film. “No one ever mentioned it in the States, it’s not part of their culture. Whilst I’d been away the film had started to be re-shown on television as a kind of Christmas classic, and videos and DVDs came out,” she says. “And I understand why. The film that Lionel made has a timeless quality, he’s very true to Nesbit and that feeling of delight in childhood memories. Plus steam trains are forever fascinating, then you had performances like Dinah Sheridan as Mother and Bernard Cribbins as Perks. It was one of those magical films.”

She loved returning to key locations: “I have, from the first time I went to Oakworth Station, loved steam trains. Being back there, filming, was very touching. One of the engine drivers had driven the trains for Lionel’s film. He was there with his 41-year-old daughter, who was the first woman to drive those steam trains. I love all those connections.”

The KWVR was, says producer Jemma, the other dealbreaker in making a sequel work. She met Noel Hartley, operations manager of the heritage line: “He took me to look at trains that were age-appropriate, we talked about using the Old Gentleman’s train and the Green Dragon from the original. I wasn’t aware of the American Military train. He took me into the shed to see what they call ‘Big Jim’. I said ‘This is fantastic! We have to have this in the film!’”

The film revisits locations from the original, including the doctor’s house, Haworth’s Bronte Parsonage. Other nods include items from Bobbie’s past dotted around her home and a track by co-composer Ed Farmer as a reimagined version of the original theme. “It plays when the evacuee train arrives, Bobbie is taken back to that moment when she herself arrived as a child,” says Morgan. “It’s a knowing, hopefully moving nod to the original for those who recognise that theme.”