A production of The Railway Children has been recognised by the Enjoy England Awards for Excellence, one of the most prestigious awards in English tourism.

Co-produced by York Theatre Royal and the National Railway Museum (NRM), The Railway Children has already been named regional winner of the York Tourism Awards for Excellence and is now a national finalist for the title of Best Tourism Experience. In 2009, the production also picked up a White Rose Award for Tourism.

Damian Cruden, artistic director of York Theatre Royal and the director of The Railway Children, called the creation of the production “a great source of pride” for the theatre, the NRM and the people of York. He added that it “has proved that partnership and a shared vision can create great events that attract the attention of a wider public”.

The production, first staged at the NRM in 2008, proved a success with both audiences and critics. It received a number of positive reviews in the national press, with Whatsonstage calling it a “unique and delightful theatrical experience” (The Railway Children). In its second summer run it was seen by over 26,000 people and enjoyed a 9.2% rise in box office sales.

On the unique setting for the piece, Cruden said: “The animation of the NRM and the creation of a new theatre space made this an exciting and unique piece of art that displayed the best of our heritage, both old and new”. The production included an appearance by the Stirling Single steam train, which pulled into the station as part of the show.

Sue Dalton, cultural planning manager at the NRM, echoed Cruden’s “great pride” in the production and hailed it as “a real jewel in our crown”. She added that the short-listing of the production for the Enjoy England award was “a real thrill”.

The Enjoy England Awards for Excellence are now in their 21st year and celebrate the best that England has to offer. The 2010 winners will be announced on 23 April. Also in the running for the Best Tourism Experience award are Cornwall Classic Car Hire in Bodmin and Livingstone Lodge Overnight Safari in Hythe.

The NRM is the largest railway museum in the world, attracting almost one million visitors per year to its sites at York and Shildon.

- Hannah Giles