IF you didn't see Damian Cruden's Olivier Award-winning production of The Railway Children at the National Railway Museum in 2008 or 2009, why not?

If you did, here is a chance to do so again, as part of York Theatre Royal's NRM residency during the theatre's £4.1 million redevelopment.

Whether a first-timer or returnee, you will find Mike Kenny's stage adaptation has moved into new premises since 2009 in the tubular form of a purpose-built theatre with 1,000 seats, first used for The Railway Children's Canadian premiere in Toronto.

This all-mod-cons canvas structure – please don't call it a tent, we were asked – made its York debut as the Signal Box Theatre for last month's community play, In Fog And Falling Snow. This winter it will set veteran dame Berwick Kaler new challenges in his one-off pantomime – should that be tentotime? – on the NRM's temporary traverse stage but in the meantime it is at its most breathtaking for Joanna Scotcher's brilliant design for The Railway Children.

At its centre is a rail track with rows of lamps and ten rows of compact seating either side, delineated as Platform One and Platform Two. At one end is the Yorkshire village station of Oakworth, where station master Albert Perks (Martin Barrass, returning from 2009) rules with Yorkshire humour and regular routine with minimum fuss and maximum pride and protocol.

York Press:

Martin Barrass as station master Albert Perks in The Railway Children. Picture: Anthony Robling

At the other end is the silhouette of a grand London station, from which the middle-class Waterbury children and their mother (Andrina Carroll) travel to Yorkshire in vastly reduced circumstances (goodbye all manner of servants) after their father (Robert Angell) is "called away".

Everything travels up and down the track, with props and scenery for house and carriage interiors pushed into place on rail carts by capped railway workmen, all topped off by the appearance of the steam engine from the cherished 1970 film, whose arrival is greeted with a burst of applause.

Kenny's version is a storytelling piece of family entertainment with audience interaction – especially from Barrass's Perks – told by Rozzi Nicholson-Lailey's Roberta, Izaak Cainer's Peter and Beth Lilly's Phyllis as young adults recalling their days as the railway children.

This enables them to be commentators as well as childhood participants in the story, interestingly with differing recollections of precisely what happened, in a clever authorial device by the York playwright.

Humour abounds, especially in the clash of posh south and nuggety north – "You're not from around here, are you?", says more than one northerner – but Kenny has political zeal and steel in his writing too in the story of the Russian emigré, Schepansky (James Weaver), the writer who had to flee his homeland.

As in 2008 and 2009, Cruden directs the set-pieces superbly, be it the assorted dramas on the rail line or Mr Perks's birthday, and he elicits excellent performances from the three company debutants as the children.

York Press:

James Weaver as a Passenger and Martin Barrass as Albert Perks in The Railway Children. Picture: Anthony Robling

Tears flow, cheers break out, as The Railway Children works its theatrical magic once more, and in Berwick Kaler's temporary indisposition as the Old Gentleman, Michael Lambourne is a delightful replacement as a not-so-old but splendidly Edwardian gent.

Seeing this show again, you are reminded of how so many elements contribute to its success: Christopher Madin's gorgeous music; Richard G Jones's lighting amid the steam and tunnel darkness; and especially Craig Vear's sound design of trains rattling down tracks and birdsong in the countryside.

After The Railway King's story last month at the NRM, here is the king of railway shows. Full steam ahead once more.

The Railway Children, York Theatre Royal/National Railway Museum, at Signal Box Theatre, National Railway Museum, York, until September 5. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk