A steam train enthusiast is one step closer to realising his dream after celebrating a £1 million lottery win at Talyllyn Railway.

Neil Leighton, 24, from Hereford, scooped the top prize on the ‘Cash Bolt Christmas Millionaire’ Instant Win game from the National Lottery and chose to celebrate his win at Talyllyn.

Neil isn’t rushing into anything since discovering his millionaire status but is confident that trains will feature heavily.

He said: “If someone had told me two weeks ago I would be in a position to own a steam train I’d have laughed, but then if someone had told me I’d be a millionaire I’d also have laughed – just goes to show, magic can happen!

“Ever since my grandad took me to see my first steam train when I was three, I have been fascinated.

"It started with Thomas the Tank Engine and to be honest, I never grew out of it. Now, if I’m not visiting a railway, I’m busy writing and filming my own take on Thomas the Tank Engine storylines which I share online, or collaborating with Thomas fans around the world on future projects. So top of the list is buying my own home, where I can have a train room, an entire space dedicated to trains, and another room for filming and editing my Thomas content.

“And maybe one day, if I’m wise with this win, I’ll swap the train room for my very own steam train.”

Neil’s millionaire adventure all started when he was catching up with friends, and fellow Thomas fans, on a group call one Monday evening.

Neil said: "I was in my man cave – otherwise known as the shed in the garden – having a very chilled evening, enjoying a drink and chatting to my friends in the UK and the States.

"Having downloaded the National Lottery app just two days previously, I was also aimlessly playing the Cash Bolt Christmas Millionaire game on my phone. It wasn’t until all the spins had completed that I even looked at the screen where I saw a message ‘Congratulations You’ve Won £1M’. At which point I said to my friends ‘I’ve won a million’ and left the chat.”

Leaving his friends totally bemused, Neil tried to call the National Lottery to confirm his win but with the phone lines not open at that time of night, decided to hop back onto his earlier call, announcing to his friends ‘I think I have won on the National Lottery by accident’, Neil said,

“They were so happy for me although there was plenty of joking that only I could have won £1m by accident! We stayed up into the early hours discussing the crazy turn of events and having a little browse on the internet looking at houses and holidays I could now afford.

“I didn’t tell my family the news until I was able to confirm the win for definite the following day. I walked into the house and my mum and dad both jokingly said I looked far too happy, what had I been buying. When I told them I’d bought something, a National Lottery Instant Win Game, and I’d won £1m, Mum screamed, used some colourful language and then was convinced it was a scam.”

Aside from plans for his own home, Neil will be treating his family with a few surprises in the run up to Christmas and hopes to enjoy a holiday with friends in the new year. He said,

“There are a few ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences I’m thinking of for my family, and I’m also aiming to travel a bit too. I’m currently tempted by Canada, it’s just crazy to think that I can do that now without saving for years. The same goes for driving lessons. I’ve always put it off due to the cost but now I can finally get behind the wheel, and once passed, actually buy a car.

“I’m not giving up work, I think for now I will continue to enjoy my job, keep making my films and mull over the exciting next steps.”

The Cash Bolt Christmas Millionaire is available to play on the National Lottery app. It offers a one in 2.69 overall chance of winning a prize. The game costs £5 and prizes range from £5 up to the top prize of £1m.