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The Welsh­pool & Llan­fair Light Rail­way’s An­drew Bar­clay 0-4-0T Dougal has steamed un­der its own power for the first time in five years in Tai­wan – but is “likely to re­main out of ser­vice for the fore­see­able fu­ture” when it re­turns home.

The former Glas­gow Provan Gas Works lo­co­mo­tive ar­rived on Tai­wanese shores on Novem­ber 8 as part of a co-op­er­a­tion agree­ment be­tween the rail­way and the Tai­wan Sugar Cor­po­ra­tion (Taisugar), which op­er­ates five tourist lines in the coun­try, in or­der to pro­mote shared knowl­edge, ex­pe­ri­ence and tourism be­tween the two or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Al­though the lo­co­mo­tive hadn’t worked since 2013, Dougal is still in ‘ticket’, but boiler work iden­ti­fied at its last in­spec­tion means that it must be run at a re­duced boiler pres­sure, thus pre­clud­ing it from haul­ing reg­u­lar WLLR ser­vices.

WLLR Press Of­fi­cer An­drew Char­man says: “On ar­rival in Tai­wan, Dougal was fully in­spected and again sanc­tioned for run­ning; the line in Tai­wan is com­pletely flat and the lo­co­mo­tive is not haul­ing any sig­nif­i­cant weight dur­ing its stay. WLLR en­gi­neer John Ban­croft set the safety valves at 100lb/sq. in dur­ing the ac­cep­tance test and in­structed op­er­a­tion at around 80lb/sq. in.”

This meant Dougal could be in steam for the sign­ing cer­e­mony in Chi­ayi at the launch of Taisugar’s an­nual sugar fes­ti­val on De­cem­ber 8, but de­spite ini­tial hopes that TSC would un­der­take the nec­es­sary re­pairs to bring it up to long-term op­er­at­ing con­di­tion (SR485), Mr Char­man be­lieves this will now not hap­pen. “It’s run­ning fine at their event so they have no rea­son to start tak­ing it apart. The over­haul was al­ways a faint hope, a po­ten­tial of­fer made if any prob­lems were found, which they haven’t been.

“Un­for­tu­nately, on its re­turn to the UK, the lo­co­mo­tive is likely to re­main out of ser­vice for the fore­see­able fu­ture as both the cost of the boiler work and vol­un­teer re­source can­not cur­rently be ex­pended on an en­gine that is not a pas­sen­ger-hauler.”


1946-built Bar­clay Dougal is sur­rounded by curious on­look­ers dur­ing the sign­ing cer­e­mony at Chi­ayi on De­cem­ber 8.

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