If you dreamed of driving a train when you were young now is your chance.

The public has the rare chance to experience the thrill and excitement of taking to the controls of four main line heritage diesel locomotives at a heritage railway.

The engines, a Class 55 Deltic, Class 50, Class 37 and Class 33, are appearing at the Swanage Railway’s annual Diesel Gala and Dorset Beer Festival between Friday and Sunday.

Apart from the Class 33, which can be driven over the weekend, the paid-for driver experience trains started with the Class 37 yesterday.

The Deltic is today and the Class 50 on May 13.

As well as receiving a full safety briefing, participants can also enjoy a ride in a carriage behind that same locomotive.

They will also visit a signal box, be presented with a certificate and receive a year’s membership to the Swanage Railway Trust – as well as free refreshments.

Swanage Railway general manager Richard Jones said: “Nothing quite compares with the sheer thrill and excitement of driving a main line heritage diesel locomotive – it really is an unforgettable and very evocative experience.

“The four diesel locomotives we are featuring in our driver experience programme are classic pieces of railway engineering: the unsung workhorses that kept this country and its economy moving day in, day out – night and day.

“They were designed during the 1950s and entered traffic through the 1960s when they took over after the end of steam as a result of the modernisation programme introduced by British Railways during the mid-1950s.”

Participants must be aged 18 or over and participants who appear to be under the influence of drink or drugs will not be admitted.

Bookings for the driver experience trains are final and no refunds are available.

More details are available from the Swanage Railway website at swanagerailway.co.uk or by calling 01929 475207.