THE author of a sequel to the classic Railway Children book captivated youngsters from a Keighley school during a visit to the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. (K&WVR)

Publisher Scholastic UK invited the 60 pupils from Worth Valley Primary School to meet Lou Kuenzler, who has written The Return of the Railway Children.

Her book, a sequel to the much-loved 1906 work written by E Nesbit, revisits characters from the first story and introduces new ones against a Second World War backdrop.

The launch event today (March 5) also helped celebrate this year’s 50th anniversary of the Keighley and Worth Valley heritage line.

Mrs Kuenzler, who lives in London, said she had visited the K&WVR last year. She explained she had wanted to see the setting for the famous 1970s movie of The Railway Children to help her create her own sequel book.

Commenting on her return she added: “It was lovely to come back and to meet such a great group of kids.”

The year four and five pupils began their own outing at Ingrow Station.

From there they were taken by train to Oakworth Station – the setting for key scenes in the 1970s film – then onto Oxenhope.

At the end of the line they joined Mrs Kuenzler for a tour of the pannier tank engine used in the film and took part in a question and answer session with her.

Mrs Kuenzler, who is based in London, said: “I read them a short extract from the book and asked them to come up with similes for a steam engine.

“I loved E Nesbit’s original and I’d aimed to capture the tone and some of the themes of that book in my sequel.

“My book is also about friendship, adventure and pushing the boundaries while not having much adult supervision.

“The sequel was about a year in the making and is mainly aimed at children aged about nine to 12.

“Writing it was quite a daunting task when the original is such a deeply loved book, but I was aiming to pay homage to the first book and to the brilliant writing that drew me to it in the first place.”

Tom Ruddock, K&WVR marketing and publicity assistant, said: “The day went really well.

“The children have really engaged with what they’ve seen and heard and for some of them it was their first time on the railway, so it’s great for us to have made a connection with them. We were also very lucky with the weather.”