THE visit of the iconic Flying Scotsman locomotive, one of the world's most-famous steam engines, has already proved a near sell-out success.

Thousands of people have flocked to see the Scotsman since it arrived in Dorset last week.

Swanage Railway successfully bid for the honour to host the locomotive from the National Railway Museum.

It will be running on the renovated Swanage Railway today, before being moved to Corfe Castle railway station where it will remain on static display for another fifteen days.

On Friday, Penny Vaudoyer, the daughter of the man who saved the 1920s engine from the scrapyard, flew in from her home in Portugal to wave the locomotive off at Swanage railway station.

Swanage Railway Company director Mick Gould said: "The Flying Scotsman is a working museum. It is open to the public and, in my opinion, it is the people's engine and has a magic of its own.

"It has created a huge atmosphere, a huge amount of excitement."

Mr Gould said the visit is providing a boost to everyone connected with the heritage line.

"The Flying Scotsman is probably the most-famous engine in the world, certainly in the United Kingdom. It has an aura all of its own.

"If you bring the Flying Scotsman to a railway line, especially a branch line, you are bound to get crowds of people willing to buy tickets, and a heritage railway like the Swanage Railway needs revenue – it can't run on love unfortunately.

"To run steam locomotives is expensive.

"It is a huge boost for the volunteers here as well, especially the drivers who can sit in the cab. It is a huge morale boost. A lot of planning goes into an event like this.

"We were told just before Christmas that we had won the bid to have The Flying Scotsman on the railway.

"It has taken a lot of effort from a lot of staff to put the show on the road."

During a test run in 1934 the Nigel Greasley-designed Flying Scotsman became the first steam locomotive to break the 100mph limit while hauling a train.

Purchased by the National Railway Museum in 2004, t was restored thanks to a £4.2 million ten-year project.

Mr Gould said: "We were lucky enough to get Penny to green flag the train off.

"She came over from Portugal and I think her passion drips down to everyone else.

The locomotive be on display at Corfe Castle up until April 10.