THE Welshpool & Llanfair Railway has loaned its diminutive Andrew Barclay 0-4-0T No. 2207 of 1946 Dougal to the Taiwan Sugar Corporation (Taisugar) for six months – and the locomotive may return to action, subject to the results of a detailed inspection.
The initiative is the result of a twinning arrangement that has been agreed between the W&L and Taisugar. Similar to an agreement signed in 2017 between the Welsh line and the Alishan Railway, another major line in Taiwan, the twinning promotes long-term mutual co-operation and exchange between the two railways.
The Taiwan Sugar Corporation once owned more than 40 mills around the country, but as sugar production has declined it has diversified into other areas, and Taisugar now operates five short heritage railways at former mills that it owns.
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Part of the agreement will see the W&L providing the benefits of experience gained in more than 50 years of tourist railway operation to Taisugar, while the return benefits will include technical assistance, particularly in the maintenance of 1979-built Diema diesel No. 17, which the W&L purchased from Taisugar in 2004. Cross-level tourist promotion will also be undertaken at a time when the UK is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for travellers from the Far East.
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