The Railway Children

Based on the beloved children’s book, The Railway Children brings the story to life in a spectacular way – complete with a real steam engine.

The stage adaptation we see today was first staged in 2008 and 2009 at York’s National Railway Museum. The train, which is at the center of the story, features the same train that was used in the Toronto production: Locomotive 563.

William Adams designed the train, and was one of the 4-4-0 passenger steam trains built around 1892. The 563 was finally retired in 1945.

The show was originally staged by the York Theatre Royal as part of a partnership with the local National Railway Museum. The production ran for two summer seasons at the York museum.

The show moved to the former Eurostar terminal at Waterloo Station in 2010, and played to sell-out crowds.

In 2011, the show won an Oliver Award for Best Entertainment. That same year, the show traveled across the pond to open in Toronto, Canada.

The show returned to London at the King’s Cross Station, a purpose-built theatre, in 2014 and ran through January 2017.

In June and July of 2017, Museumsbanen Maribo – Bandholm on Lolland in Denmark hosted a live stage performance of the show at the Bandholm railway station. That production used the oldest operating steam locomotives on the line as well as several coaches.

The original production starred:

  • Colin Tarrant: Tarrant was best known for its role as Inspector Andrew Monroe in The Bill, which ran from 1990 through 2002 on ITV. He took on the role of ‘Old Gent’ in The Railway Children.
  • Sarah Quintrell: Quintrell is best known for her roles on Call the Midwife and Rillington Place. She played the original Bobbie in the show, and transferred to the Waterloo production.
  • Marshall Lancaster: Born in Cheshire, Lancaster has made appearances on The Lakes, Coronation Street, Family Affairs and Holby City. He starred in the earlier production of The Railway Children until 2008.

The King’s Cross Theatre’s creative team included:

  • Mike Kenny (Writer): Kenny, one of the leading writers in England, focuses on young people’s theatre. He has won several awards, and was named as one of the Top Ten Living UK Playwrights by Sunday.
  • Damian Cruden (Director): Cruden has served as the director of the York Theatre Royal for more than a decade. Throughout his career, he has directed several productions, including: The Wind in the Willows, The Homecoming, To Kill a Mocking Bird, The Hare and the Tortoise, The Railway Children, Little Shop of Horrors, and All My Sons, among many others.