Short film review: The Railway Woman – autism drama

July 13, 2022

Exposure’s autistic author Max Ferreira watches a young female’s story working in the rail industry

There are other TV shows that have an autistic character, like Sam Gardener from Atypical, and Shaun Murphy from The Good Doctor.

Recently, a new 13-minute video drama has been released online, raising awareness of young autistic people facing discrimination due to their gender. It’s called The Railway Woman, created by filmmaker Toby Loxton. This follows its premiere at the Oska Bright Film Festival at The Depot Cinema in March 2022.

The Railway Woman is about a young autistic woman called Alice with a passion for steam trains who has started volunteering at her local heritage railway. Alice reflects on her first day to senior railway worker Peter, and how it didn’t go as she anticipated.

The young men Alice works with have a harsh approach towards her. Summer Clarke-Graham who plays Alice is autistic herself, and portrayed the character well. She felt similar to the character, though Summer says Alice has a more rebellious personality.

I think there is a lack of understanding of how autism can present in girls, who are often socialised differently

What I like about The Railway Woman is how Toby Loxton has combined his own experience of autism and railway interests into the film. He posts films through his Youtube channel, TFL Creative Media. Another example of his work is Different With A Label, an autistic documentary raising awareness of the learning difficulty.

According to the National Autistic Society boys are four times more likely to have autism than girls.

As autistic comedy writer, Sara Gibbs said, “Some girls can be very vocal, loud and expressive while simultaneously masking their difficulties, which doesn’t fit the common stereotype. I think there is a lack of understanding of how autism can present in girls, who are often socialised differently. Give yourself time to get used to the idea and make any adjustments you need to make life easier for you.”

Many young girls do experience similar challenges of autism, just like many young boys, whether it’s making friends or having strict routines. Also they are more likely to have a late autism diagnosis, and hide their learning difficulty, which is called masking. But with the right support, experience and understanding young girls with autism and learning difficulties can achieve so much in life.

I like to draw on my own experience of autism and combine it with an interesting topic

As someone with autism myself, I found The Railway Woman bold, creative and entertaining. I think filmmaker Toby Loxton and his team did a great job of bringing the story to life, raising awareness of autism and to accept anyone we meet who has special needs.

When I write a new article for Exposure I like to draw on my own experience of autism and combine it with an interesting topic, like my time at the Harington Scheme and reviewing The Reason I Jump book. I also like writing short stories, like Alvin’s Adventure Album, and I even wrote an article about my own passion for steam trains.

I highly recommend The Railway Woman as it addresses how young autistic people, of any gender, shouldn’t be put off doing a hobby they enjoy, as well as encouraging them to express their true feelings.

For more information about women with autism click here.

You can watch The Railway Woman below: