- Author Tract: Edith Nesbit's socialist politics make an appearance in the plot from time to time, from Perks' discussion of British politics to the Old Gentleman's praise of Szezcpansky, an exiled Russian intellectual who had been imprisoned in Siberia for his "fine book".
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Aunt Emma's visit doesn't seem to serve the narrative. She's given a big introduction as if she'll be a major character, but then disappears off to India to work as a governess. She even gets a soundtrack shift.
- Cant Unhear It:
- Jenny Agutter as Bobbie for many.
- Bernard Cribbins as Perks too.
- Designated Villain: Subverted. Ruth is dismissed for hitting the children after they cause a bucket of water to fall on her. The children clap after mother dismisses her, but she gives them a very disapproving look.
- Ensemble Dark Horse: Perks is one of the favourite characters, thanks to Bernard Cribbins' hilariously pompous performance in the film version. Even for those who have only read the books, he can be a lot of fun.
- Funny Moments:
"It's all right, Pete. At least we can burn the evidence."
- When the children want to get birthday presents for Mr Perks, but don't want to just write 'Perks' on the cake. Phyllis knows his name is Albert and says they should use that since "Albert's a pretty name". Cue everyone gawking at her.
- The girls discover Peter has been stealing coal. Phyllis makes light of the situation.
"If you say 'I dare say' one more time, I shall have hysterics...I dare say."
- When the family first arrive at the new house, the man who drives their carriage only responds with "I dare say" to everything. Mother eventually gets fed up.
- Mrs Viney says she'll leave supper in the house for them, but they can't find it when they arrive. Mother discovers it the next morning hidden in the grill, and when Mrs Viney pops in to say hi, she notes it's a "curious time" to have the supper.
- While Mother is ill, the doctor tells Bobbie that she'll be acting as 'head nurse'. Phyllis is right next to her and looks a little put out. The doctor then tells her "you can be Matron" and she immediately Squees.
- When Perks delivers the enormous hamper from the old gentleman, and has to get through a narrow stile in a dry stone wall; this is accompanied with "wha-wha-wha" music.
- Harsher in Hindsight: Depending on what he wrote, the "fine book" written by Szezcpansky might fall under this, given...well...
- Narm: Peter, in the film version, did kind of overreact to getting the train for Christmas. It's just really overdone.
- Narm Charm: Bobbie gliding around the room during her birthday. Some find it silly, yet others find it fits the tone of the scene.
- Nightmare Fuel:
- The landslide with the trees falling onto the tracks is quite a startling scene. Not to mention Bobbie refusing to get off the line until the train stops - and it only stops inches from her face.
- And "The Hound In The Red Jersey" portion. Jim breaks his leg while running through the tunnel and only narrowly escapes being crushed by the passing train.
- One-Scene Wonder:
- Ruth, who only appears in the first ten minutes. She solidifies this by shouting "stairs, stairs, stairs!" as she climbs up the stairs.
- Also Aunt Emma, who has just one scene complete with a soundtrack shift. Unfortunately her scene is often edited out of broadcasts.
- The carriage driver who responds to everything with "I dare say."
- Tear Jerker:
- Bobbie's sweet birthday celebration turns bittersweet when she says "wouldn't Daddy have loved this?" and later on she comes downstairs to find Mother crying by the fireplace.
- "Daddy! My daddy!"
- Values Dissonance: The poem the mother writes to cheer up Jim is about Jim and his friends picking on the nerdy kid and seems to suggest that bullying is okay.
- Also, there's a long conversation between Peter and the physician in the book, where he tells Peter that he must be the "man of the house" because women are weak and delicate. It's completely fair for its time, but is very uncomfortable for many readers nowadays.
YMMV / The Railway Children