YEARS of work dedicated to making Carnforth railway station a tourist attraction in its own right has paid off with a prestige award.

The station - the location for David Lean's classic romance 'Brief Encounter' released in 1946 - has won first prize in the 2005 Community Rail Awards for the 'best new use for a station building'.

The award follows the restoration of the station as a 1940's-style working station, heritage centre and community asset.

The station building, which was empty and virtually derelict five years ago, has been transformed into a visitor centre, museum, caf and travel information office.

And what's more, the caf has been carefully restored to recreate the set used in the film, while the visitor centre tells the story of the making of the film and the history of transport around Carnforth.

It recalls how the small farming town was transformed by the railways because it stood at the junction of three railway lines and delves into the history and heritage of the town, its workers and families.

Cllr Ron Sands, Lancaster City Council's Cabinet member for tourism, says: "I am delighted that this national award highlights the station's importance to tourism nationally and even internationally with its Brief Encounter connections.

"It also spotlights the importance of linking tourism with transport as these two vital industries need to work together."