Rehearsals start for The Railway Children

Actors arrive in York as The Railway Children returns after world-wide success

The Railway Children

31st July – 5th September

The cast arrive for The Railway Children credit Anthony RoblingThe cast of The Railway Children have arrived in York for rehearsals and started the day taking a look at their biggest co-star, the Great Western Railway Pannier Tank 5775, the steam locomotive used in the classic film, which rolls to a majestic halt in front of the audience during the show.

The long-awaited homecoming of The Railway Children to York marks a new milestone in the seven-year partnership between the National Railway Museum and York Theatre Royal. The production forms part of York Theatre Royal’s residency at the Museum whilst the theatre undergoes its £4.1m refurbishment, and will run from 31 July to 5 September 2015.

Taking over from the eagerly anticipated In Fog and Falling Snow, the latest theatrical collaboration between two of York’s best-loved cultural institutions promises to be bigger and better than ever before. The 2015 adaptation will see The Railway Children not only reunited with the Museum where it originated, but also with the purpose-built 1,000-seat Signal Box Theatre in which it delighted Canadian audiences during its 2011 run in Toronto.

The show has won extensive critical praise for its use of a live steam locomotive in a thrilling set-piece, and for the first time the 2015 adaption will feature the same locomotive as the well-loved original film – the Great Western Railway Pannier Tank 5775. Pannier Tank is definitely one of the biggest guest stars ever to grace the UK stage, and has been repainted specifically for the production to reflect the fictional caramel-brown livery from the film.

This is the third time that the Theatre and the Museum have collaborated on The Railway Children, but the first time that the theatre and the museum have worked in full partnership to deliver a summer of activities for the whole family to enjoy. The production is directed by York Theatre Royal’s Artistic Director Damian Cruden, and will feature beloved York pantomime favourites Martin Barrass and Berwick Kaler in the respective roles of Mr Perks and the Old Gentleman.

The Railway Children was the first of the National Railway Museum’s joint ventures with York Theatre Royal, and played to sell out audiences in 2008 and 2009. It went on to delight sell-out audiences at Waterloo and in Toronto in 2010 and 2011, and most recently has enjoyed a successful run at London Kings Cross station. With such a history of critical acclaim and audience praise behind the show, anticipation for its York homecoming is running high. Over 24,000 people saw The Railway Children in 2008, and demand for tickets was so great that the last three weeks of the show was completely sold out, meaning hundreds of people had to be turned away.

Jim Lowe, Head of Operations at the National Railway Museum, said:

The partnership between the Museum and York Theatre Royal is flourishing during the Theatre’s residency here, and both organisations are delighted to welcome The Railway Children back to its original home. We think audiences will love the latest adaptation of this wonderful production, and will be as excited as we are to see Bobbie and her siblings reunited with the instantly recognisable Pannier Tank locomotive from the iconic film.

York Theatre Royal’s Chief Executive, Liz Wilson, commented: Part of The Railway Children’s popularity is its ability to appeal to a wide audience, as previous sell–out runs in York, Waterloo and Toronto have proved. York Theatre Royal and the National Railway Museum are delighted to be bringing the production back.

Rehearsals start as the York Theatre Royal production’s run at London’s King Cross is extended to January 2016. The Railway Children runs from 31 July to 5 September 2015. Tickets are priced between £10 and £32.50 and can be bought by calling the Box Office on 01904 623568, securely online at or in person at York Theatre Royal’s new box Office in De Grey Rooms, St Leonard’s Place.

Listings Information:

York Theatre Royal and National Railway Museum present

E Nesbit’s The Railway Children

Friday 31 July – Saturday 5 September 2015

Directed by Damian Cruden

Written by Mike Kenney

Tickets: £32.50 – £10

Box Office 01904 623568