ORGANISERS of York’s huge railway festival have admitted they fell short of their attendance target, but insist it was a success.

The National Railway Museum said on Monday that Railfest, held from June 2 to 10, had been an enormous success and more than 60,000 people visited the museum site over the nine days, breaking crowd records along the way.

But officials yesterday conceded the majority of that number visited only the free museum, and not the paid-for Railfest. Organisers had said they hoped to attract 65,000 people to Railfest, but of the 63,100 who visited the site over the nine days, only 33,896 (54 per cent of the total) visited Railfest.

A museum spokeswoman yesterday said: “Although we were short of our aspirational 65,000 target for visitors to Railfest 2012, we are still absolutely thrilled with the event’s success and the feedback we have had from our visitors has been exceptionally positive.

“Given that many other events have had to be cancelled due to the wet weather, we are pleased that we still saw 63,100 visitors over the nine days to the museum overall and that the largest proportion of these visitors attended our outdoor event.

“Railfest has also enabled us to forge and cultivate good relationships with key rail industry stakeholders and figureheads. These will prove valuable to the museum’s ongoing development and ability to hold similar large-scale events in the future.”

She said the figures initially given on Monday were released to be consistent with how the figures were reported for the previous Railfest in 2004.

Meanwhile, an ale trail organised to coincide the festival has been hailed a success. The Flying Scotsman beer, by Caledonian Brewery, made the beer available in 17 pubs in York. Organisers say that, between them, the pubs sold more than 20,000 pints.