This story is written in the third person plural. One day some people came to one happy family and took their father away. The children did not understand what had happened. Their mother could only tell them that father would be away for some time. The family had to leave their native home in London. The mother and three children Bobbie, Peter and the youngest Phyllis moved to a new house near the railway in Yorkshire. The childish attention was fully attracted by the railway station. They had many exciting adventures. The curious children even made a friend with an old man, who rode a 9:15 train every day. This man helped the family so much that Bobby decided to ask him for help. The girl found out their father was accused of spying.
They were not railway children at the beginning. They lived with their father and mother in London. There were three of them. Roberta – she was always called Bobbie, and was the oldest. Next came Peter, who wanted to be an engineer when he grew up. And the youngest was Phyllis, who was always trying to be good.
Mother was almost always at home, ready to play with the children, or to read to them. And she wrote stories, then read them to the children after tea.
These three lucky children had everything that they needed. Pretty clothes, a warm house, and lots of toys. They also had a wonderful father who was never angry, and always ready to play a game.
They were very happy. But they did not know how happy until their life in London was over, and they had to live a very different life indeed.
The awful change came suddenly.
It was Peter’s birthday, and he was ten years old. Among his presents was a toy steam engine, and it quickly became Peter’s favourite toy. But after three days, the engine went BANG! Peter was very unhappy about his broken toy. The others said he cried, but Peter said his eyes were red because he had a cold.
When Father came home that day, Peter told him the sad story about his engine, and Father looked at it very carefully. Mother and the children waited.
‘Is there no hope?’ said Peter.
‘Of course there’s hope!’ said Father, smiling. ‘I’ll mend it on Saturday, and you can all help me.’
Just then, someone knocked at the front door. A few moments later, Ruth – the maid – came in. ‘There are two gentlemen to see you,’ she said to Father.
‘Now, who can they be?’ said Father.
‘Try to be quick, dear,’ said his wife. ‘It’s nearly time for the children to go to bed.’
But the two men stayed and stayed. Father’s voice got louder and louder in the next room, but the children and Mother could not hear what was said. Then Ruth came back and spoke to Mother.
‘He wants you to go in, ma’am,’ she said. ‘I think he’s had bad news. Be ready for the worst.’
Mother went into the next room, and there was more talking. Soon after, the children heard Ruth call a taxi, then there was the sound of feet going outside and down the steps…