Call the Midwife train crash explained—what happened and did your favourite characters survive the shocking disaster?

No-one saw that Call the Midwife train crash coming as lives continue to hang in the balance...

Call the Midwife train crash leaves Sister Julienne's fate unknown, played by Jenny Agutter
(Image credit: BBC)

The Call the Midwife train crash left fans desperate for the emotional season finale as more than one character’s fate is left unknown. 

Anyone who’s been holding on excitedly for the Downton Abbey sequel to land in theatres and can’t get enough of Julian Fellowes’ The Gilded Age, if there’s one period drama that should already be on your radar, it’s Call the Midwife. The long-running BBC show is set in London’s East End in the 1950s-60s and was originally based on the memoirs of nurse and midwife Jennifer Worth. Now in its eleventh season, the emotional storylines, character relationships and topical subjects make this a firm favourite with fans. Though the latest episode has left many viewers terrified about what the finale has in store after a train journey ended in disaster. 

But what caused the Call the Midwife train crash and have any of your favourite characters survived?  

The Call the Midwife train crash explained

With the Call the Midwife season 11 finale almost here, fans might have been expecting the long-running drama to start upping the intensity in the penultimate episode, just like in fellow historical show Ridley Road. Though what they got was an emotional rollercoaster sure to have left more than a few viewers in tears after a Call the Midwife train crash left lives hanging in the balance ahead of the final episode. 

This includes several of the BBC show’s most beloved characters—Dr Turney, Sister Julienne and Nancy Corrigan. The three colleagues boarded a train home to Poplar from Chelmsford after attending a conference on midwifery and obstetrics, having decided against driving.

Call the Midwife starring Jenny Agutter

(Image credit: BBC)

In a moment that couldn’t seem more foreboding looking back, Dr Turner even remarks upon how the train was “much easier” and he was “glad” he didn’t drive. Though it wasn’t long before the respected doctor and fans were left bitterly regretting this fateful choice. During the journey the train driver is seen taking some kind of medication before taking ill.

Becoming unresponsive whilst at the wheel, it wasn’t long before Dr Turney and Sister Julienne both realised something was very, very wrong with the erratic movements of the train. Whilst fans were left holding their breath as they hoped for a resolution in time, instead they were horrified to watch a Call the Midwife train crash unfold.

Call the Midwife starring Stephen McGann

(Image credit: BBC)

With the driver no longer in control of the speeding train, it collided with another one rather than stopping for it. It soon became all-too clear that things didn’t look good for anyone on board, with the train wrecked and the driver believed to be dead. Now with just one episode left in Call the Midwife season 11 we’re all left wondering a truly terrible question—did all three main cast members survive this shocking incident?

Who dies in the Call the Midwife train crash?

Dr Patrick Turner - played by Stephen McGann

Call the Midwife starring Stephen McGann

(Image credit: BBC)

Dr Patrick Turner has been a much-loved member of the Call the Midwife cast since it’s very first episode back in 2012. As the local physician in Poplar, he’s become well acquainted with the midwives and nuns and his loss would be deeply felt if he was to become one of the Call the Midwife train crash’s victims. 

Following the incident, episode 7 ended with the doctor lying on the ground and moving very slightly. So it seems that he's survived the initial crash, though he's certainly not out of the woods yet. If Dr Turney were to die this would add another layer of emotion and intensity into the finale as he would’ve passed away before making things up with his son Timothy. 

Before heading to Chelmsford the two had fallen out after Timothy returned from university with glandular fever and Dr Turney advised him to rest.

Furious at his illness and terrified it would impact his studies, Timothy snapped at his father that things had “changed since [his] day” at medical school.

Ultimately the row ended when Timothy left the room believing his father would never remember how hard studying was and Dr Turner left for the conference. Knowing how much the two love each other, it would make for a heartbreaking twist if Dr Turner and Timothy’s relationship was left on this sour note.

Alternatively, a reunion between father and son if the doctor survives would inject some much-needed joy back into the show in the final episode.

Sister Julienne - played by Jenny Agutter

Call the Midwife starring Jenny Agutter

(Image credit: BBC)

Just like Dr Turney, Sister Julienne has been there from the very beginning, played by acclaimed actor Jenny Agutter. Though her fate after the Call the Midwife train crash is just as uncertain, if not more so, than her colleague. At least Dr Turner was shown moving at the end, whilst in comparison, Sister Julienne is shown to be completely unresponsive in her train seat.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the last fans see of Sister Julienne in the show. And there’ll likely be many hoping that she is simply unconscious and will recover after being attended to by the emergency services called to the scene.

Nancy Corrigan - played by Megan Cusack

Call the Midwife starring Megan Cusack

(Image credit: BBC)

Though she was also involved in the train crash, Nancy Corrigan is the only one of the trio to be shown to have made it out relatively unscathed. She was in the train bathroom applying lipstick when the crash happened, leading her to hit her head against the mirror. In the aftermath of the impact, Nancy was seen emerging into the corridor with a bloody and bruised face. 

Thinking of her colleagues Nancy headed towards the compartment where she left Dr Turney and Sister Julienne sitting. Calling their names desperately, she attempted to get through the door to reach them, before a fellow passenger grabbed her arm and guided her to safety. Her survival is certainly a beacon of hope going into the final episode that the other two could also emerge, injured, but alive.

How to watch Call the Midwife  

If you’re looking for something more historical and heart-warming, but just as compelling as Trigger Point ITV or the Chloe BBC ending then why not give Call the Midwife a go? With characters you can’t help but root for, emotional storylines and the joy of seeing new life brought into the world, this BBC drama has it all. The Call the Midwife season 11 finale will air at 8pm on BBC One on Sunday, February 20th. All of the previous episodes and all past seasons from the very beginning are also available to watch via BBC iPlayer. 

But if you’re abroad when Call the Midwife airs then sadly you won't be able to watch the show as you normally would at home, thanks to regional restrictions. Luckily there’s an easy solution and you can use a VPN to continue watching this hit drama. This is a handy bit of software that changes your IP address so that you can access on-demand content or live TV just as if you were at home. 

Our sister site, TechRadar, has tested all of the major VPN services and they rate ExpressVPN as the absolute best. They say, “It’s compatible with all of your devices, supports most streaming services, and ranks among the fastest. You can even install it on devices like an Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Xbox, and PlayStation. So for a one-stop-shop, you can’t go wrong with Express.”


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Ranked among one of the fastest VPN providers, this risk-free service is also compatible with all of your devices. Enjoy access to almost any streaming service, and if you don't like it there's a 30-day money-back guarantee.

If you've never installed a VPN before, don't worry, it's quick and easy. Just follow these three steps:

  1. Download and install the VPN following ExpressVPN's easy-to-follow instructions.
  2. Once you've installed your VPN, open the app and select your server location as anywhere in the UK.
  3. With your VPN installed and server location set to UK, you can now watch Call the Midwife online. 

VPN disclaimer

(Image credit: Future)

With the Call the Midwife season 11 finale now just a week away, fans will be keeping their fingers crossed that Sister Julienne and Dr Turney pull through. But with so many locals injured by shattered glass in the aftermath of the incident and fellow passengers thought dead, even if they do survive, things will likely get a whole lot more emotional before the show's conclusion...

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!