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Railroad gives dreamers chance to play engineer


Those who have always wanted to play engineer on a speeding locomotive can realize their ambition, thanks to a five-day course offered by the Fairbourne and Barmouth Steam Railway in Wales.

The privately run narrow-gauge steam railroad offers a five-day package course for about $680 that includes accommodations in a local hotel with breakfast and dinner. An intensive one-day course, with a guarantee that each student drives the engine the full three-mile length of the line, costs $85.

Trainees learn how to run a steam locomotive, how one works, and safety regulations, an official says. All the railway's engines and cars are copies of famous but now defunct narrow-gauge trains.

Fairbourne is a seaside resort on Cardigan Bay on the west coast of Wales. For more information write Fairbourne and Barmouth Steam Railway, Beach Road, Fairbourne, Gwynedd LL38 2PZ, United Kingdom; telephone (341) 250362.

Wales has a number of other narrow-gauge steam railroads, eight of which belong to a group called the Great Little Trains of Wales.

Among them are the Brecon Mountain Railway, which offers views of the Brecon Beacons range; Bala Lake Railway, along the four-mile lake; the Ffestiniog, through the Snowdonia National Park; and the Talyllyn, operating continuously from the town of Tywyn since 1865.

A booklet giving timetables and information on each railroad is available free from the British Tourist Authority, 40 W. 57th St., New York, N.Y. 10019; telephone (212) 581-4700.

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