RAIL enthusiasts visiting a museum were able to try their hands at driving a steam engine over the bank holiday weekend.

Staff at Locomotion: The National Railway Museum at Shildon held three days of driver experience sessions.

Visitors could pay for a half hour or two hour session on a 152-year-old steam engine, which included them driving it a short way along the track at the museum.

Several people took up the offer over the weekend to drive the engine which worked at Barrow Steel Works and on the Furness Railway.

Alan Middleton, 77, of the Furness Railway Trust, said: “It’s popular as there is a lot of local interest in the railways.

“Most people appreciate that it’s an old piece of machinery and they enjoy the experience of driving it.”

The tank locomotive was built in 1863 and after it finished work on the railways it was used as a climbing frame at George Hastwell School, Barrow-in-Furness, in Cumbria.

It underwent a £135,000 rebuild in 1996, with help from the National Lottery, before it was put back into steam by the trust.

Sharon Thorburn, front of house manager at the museum, said: “The sessions were popular and lots of people were interested.

“We will look to do it again.”