Superpower 2002

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Article from the FR Co. site[edit]

The Superpower Weekend has possibly proved to be the most successful weekend on the Welsh Highland Railway (Caernarfon). We will have to check the final figures but early indications show a marked increase on previous events.

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The event was designed to showcase the two 62 ton Beyer-Garratt locomotives, No. 143 & No. 138 �Millennium� along with the powerful diesel �Castell Caernarfon�, hauling the largest trains to date on the WHR. This was achieved by using the existing coaching stock (minus the Pullman which is being attended to at Boston Lodge) and the heritage stock that had been used for the summer �Heritage Train�. In addition 7 freight wagons were prepared for use to create the first mixed passenger trains on the reopened line.

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At Dinas there was also visiting locomotive �Velinheli� providing footplate rides from the goods shed to the carriage shed and next to this the incomplete �Lyd� had been brought up from Boston Lodge where it is being built, along with a newly completed pony truck and put on display. This engine is destined to work on the WHR and the boiler will be delivered in the next few weeks.

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The goods shed contained sales outlets and stands for the WHR Heritage Group and a display from the Welsh Highland (Porthmadog) too. So the entire Welsh Highland Family was represented over the line with the WHR Society stand at Waunfawr.

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The weather on Saturday was glorious, very hot and sunny and the trains were packed from the very start as the timetable built up towards the mixed trains, starting with a single headed train of wagons and coaches, before the finale of both days, the �Maximum Mixed� train, double headed with the two Garratts hauling 7 wagons and ten coaches � a very impressive sight and very impressive sounds too. For most people it was the first time that a Garratt had been heard to �chuff�. There was the occasional strange pairing of the heritage rake (23, 12 & 11) with a massive locomotive at the front, both steam and diesel were seen over the weekend.

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Apart from the varied train service, there were open top bus rides from Waunfawr to Rhyd Ddu to view the current construction works and track walks to Betws Garmon along the next 800m of line, both proved extremely popular with the public. Sunday started off with murkier weather but picked up later, and while the railway was not as busy the trains were still full, there were just less standing passengers


Another first for the weekend was the introduction of the emergency brake van No. 1001, which was seen on the second large set. The vehicle is now passed for passenger use too, so may well appear in different functions on the line.

On its first day in public service at Superpower 2002


While the Garratts were at work on the WHR, the world�s first Garratt �K1� was having its new boiler steam tested on Sunday. This locomotive is intended to be complete and ready for operation next year in time for the Easter opening of the next part of the line. The September event is now a traditional WHR feature and already plans are being drawn up for 2003, with of course the extra 6 miles of track we will have to play with going up the reverse curves to Rhyd Ddu. Another Maximum Mixed train would look fantastic climbing up the gradient to the summit ��. Best to put it in your diary now!

See also[edit]