COMPETITION is expected to be fierce for tickets to see the nation's favourite steam locomotive at Didcot Railway Centre.

Thought to be the most famous locomotive in the world, the Flying Scotsman will be at the heritage railway centre during the three days of the August Bank Holiday – from Saturday, August 26 to Monday, August 28.

Demand for tickets is expected to be high and managers of centre have not yet finalised the arrangements for how many visitors will be allowed in.

Didcot Railway Centre spokesman Adrian Brodie said: "We could sell thousands of tickets but tickets will be limited and we haven't finalised the arrangements yet.

"I know this is going to create a lot of excitement. The Flying Scotsman is such an iconic train, it's embedded in the nation's psyche.

"It was the first locomotive the break the 100mph barrier in 1934 and it holds the record for the longest non-stop journey.

"We think families will enjoy the visit as well as trainspotters – they will be able to enjoy rides behind the Flying Scotsman."

Admission will be by ticket only, bought in advance from the centre's website.

Mr Brodie added: "Didcot could get very busy and we would urge people to take the train to Didcot Parkway – that's the best way in and it will cut down on traffic congestion if more people take the train."

It will be the first time the iconic locomotive has been at the centre since 2005.

Built in 1923, the Flying Scotsman will travel from its home at the National Railway Museum in York and access the railway centre from the main line.

Centre manager Roger Orchard said: "Passengers will be able to ride behind Flying Scotsman in beautifully restored carriages from the 1930s and there will be frequent trips to watch and photograph the train as it goes by.

"We are also working with our neighbours in the community to ensure they are able to share in this experience, and will be working to support local businesses.

"We look forward to welcoming Flying Scotsman to Didcot again and to further visits in the future."

During the last visit in 2005 spectators gathered at the centre to see the locomotive using the turntable.

The centre was created in 1967 and is enjoying 50th anniversary celebrations.

Jim Lowe, head of operations at the National Railway Museum, said: “Following the successful restoration of the Flying Scotsman, we’re delighted to be able to give as many people as possible the opportunity to see this magnificent locomotive in person.

"Embarking on a national tour, we’re visiting Wales, the South and South West of England and will be returning to Didcot over the August Bank Holiday weekend for the first time since the engine was restored.

"We’re excited to be back and expect the crowds to be out in force once again."

The centre’s origins can be traced back to the Beeching cuts, when British Railways closed the depot in 1965.

Volunteers from the Great Western Society moved in from 1967, after negotiating a long lease.

A popular attraction has since been created and last year 40,000 people visited.