Corris Railway Needs “A Window” In The Weather And More Funding For Southern Extension Work

Having completed the wall of stone filled gabion baskets during the long spell of dry weather in May and early June the return of wetter conditions had left the Corris Railway looking for another sunny period in order to further advance work on the embankment south of Maespoeth Junction.

The embankment will be made up of stone, slate, earth and some geotextile material and when complete will be 170 metres long and up to 6 metres high in places. It will have steep sides to meet flood amelioration requirements in the Dulas Valley. Construction therefore will have to be by professional contractors using heavy plant and machinery. This will use the estimated 12,000 – 15,000 tonnes of material obtained from Dolgellau but will still leave some work to be done. There is a risk that if the construction is not able to advance the Corris Railway may lose the material, which will be frustrating as if work resumes this phase of the job can be done in around one working week.

There has been some optimistic talk among enthusiasts of having the embankment complete and the running line extended along its top by the end of 2020 but the Corris Railway is keen to point out that whilst this is not impossible (although potentially further complicated by Covid-19 and possible consequent limitations for volunteer workers) it will certainly not happen without enough money being available. Even with all the earthworks in place, ballast, sleepers and track fixings have to be purchased. A complete 10 metre length of the new track will cost £795, so that work will absorb around £13,500. The Corris Railway has a supply of rail in secure storage.

However current donors can be assured that all money received during this stage of the Southern Extension Project will go into materials and construction. The Corris Railway wants to be running its trains over a longer distance in the Dulas Valley as soon as possible. Track has already been laid, and used, on the northern part of embankment that has previously been constructed.

Donations for the Southern Extension and, if necessary, to help the Railway through the Covid-19 crisis, can be made via the Corris Railway website www.corris.co.uk. The website is updated with information and pictures as progress is made and video reports are posted via the Corris’ Facebook page and embedded in the website. Cheques, payable to Corris Railway, can be sent to Corris Railway, Station Yard, Corris, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 9SH.

Smokebox Rolled And Smokebox Door Formed As Work Continues On “Falcon” No. 10 For Corris Railway

The stainless steel smokebox wrapper and front plate for No.10 supplied by Barnshaws Plate and Section Rollers near Wolverhampton

Construction work on the new steam locomotive for the Corris Railway “Falcon” No. 10 has taken some significant steps forward as the “bottom half” at Alan Keef Ltd near Ross-on-Wye continues, with work on the valve and running gear ongoing.

During May the stainless steel smokebox was formed at Barnshaws Plate and Section Rollers in Bilston with a section cut from its front which will act as the baffle plate behind the smokebox door in due course.

The smokebox door “dish” was produced in June by Purdie Dished Ends of Bradford and this extended the links between the West Yorkshire city and the Corris as the boiler for No. 10 was built by Israel Newton at an early stage of the new locomotive project. This was prior to the relocation of Newton’s to the Peak District.

The smokebox and door have cost over £1400 to produce but the construction of the smokebox will allow the boiler to be moved with it to Keef’s workshop when the work currently in progress there is completed. Without the smokebox the boiler could not be erected in the frames.

In another part of the project work on CAD drawings for the saddle tank and cab has been progressing. The cab’s appearance will resemble that of the originals carried by the 1878 built “Falcon” trio of engines of the Corris but will stand higher to accommodate 21st Century footplate crews.

As always the date of the entry of No. 10 into traffic in the Dulas Valley and on the extended section of running line depends on the rate of fund raising. Online donations can be made via www.corris.co.uk or cheques payable to Corris Railway can be sent to Peter Guest, 38 Underwood Close, Callow Hill, Redditch, Worcestershire, B97 5YS.

Corris Railway Society Model Railway Exhibition 2020 Cancelled

With the ongoing concerns over COVID-19 and the degree of social distancing that may be in force the Corris Railway Society has taken the decision to cancel its annual Model Railway Exhibition. This was scheduled to take place at Y Plas in Machynlleth on August 29th and 30th (Bank Holiday Weekend).

Exhibition Organiser Bill Newton commented:-

“As 2020 would have marked the 25th Anniversary of the Corris’ event we will miss this landmark but realistically we could not go ahead as planned. It is disappointing for all concerned including the exhibitors, the traders and would be visitors, and the funds that the Model Railway Exhibition raise make a contribution to the revival of the Corris Railway and ongoing projects. However, we look to be back with a MRE in 2021”.

Announcing A Special Centenary Celebration

2 Tattoos

With the cancellation of many events in 2020 the Talyllyn and Corris Railways are delighted to announce a series of special celebrations in 2021 to mark the centenary of Ex-Corris, and current Talyllyn Railway, locomotive No. 4 ‘Edward Thomas’. The first celebration will be on the Corris Railway over the 8/9th May 2021 Gala Weekend when No. 4 will return to its old haunts to work alongside new build sister, Corris Railway locomotive No. 7. Then at the beginning of June both locomotives will travel to Tywyn and the Talyllyn Railway where a special gala will be held on the weekend of 12/13 June 2021.

Both celebrations will offer special photographic and other opportunities to mark the centenary of locomotive No. 4. During the Corris celebration No. 4 will be seen hauling a rake of recreated Corris carriages and also some vintage waggons, including some double heading with No. 7. It is also hoped that there will be other attractions for visitors to enjoy.

On the Talyllyn Nos. 4 and 7 will be seen alongside the other surviving original Corris locomotive, the Talyllyn’s No. 3 ‘Sir Haydn’. There will also be photographic opportunities to see all three locomotives along with, the then newly back in service, original Corris carriage No. 17. This is currently undergoing restoration work at Stanegate Restorations, and also the original Corris Brake Van now Talyllyn Van No. 6, also currently being restored. This event will also include model ‘Tattoos’ and other attractions.

This will be a second visit to the Talyllyn for Corris No. 7. Its previous visit highlighted the need for improvements to be made to some of its original front end design. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how the locomotive performs on its return visit and when it is able to ‘stretch its wheels’ again.

Built by Kerr Stuart as one of their ‘Tattoo’ class locomotives No. 4 was delivered new to the then independent Corris Railway in early June 1921. It subsequently passed into the hands of the Great Western Railway when it purchased the Corris in 1930. When Nationalisation came it was transferred to British Railways, and it and No. 3 were sold to the then fledgling preserved Talyllyn Railway for £25 each. No. 4 entered service on the Talyllyn in 1952 following a rebuild at Hunslet works in Leeds, and was able to take on most of the train services from the then ailing No. 2 ‘Dolgoch’, thus playing an important role in the early history of Railway preservation.

Corris Railway No. 7 is a 20th Century version of the Kerr Stuart “Tattoo” design and entered CR service in 2005.

2021 also marks the 70th Anniversary on 14 May 1951 of the first train to be operated by a Railway Preservation Society following the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society taking over the operation of the line. The Talyllyn will be marking the anniversary with some special celebrations over the weekend of 14/15/16 May 2021, further details of which will be announced later.

Of course at this time one has to add the caveat that all these celebrations will be subject to the current crisis having passed, but hopefully they will mark the triumphant return to full operations for both Railways.

Work As The Corris Railway Looks To Extend Southwards From Maespoeth Junction

Southern Extension. Pont y Goedwig Deviation Project. Sunday, 1.3.2020

It was four decades ago that works to improve the A487 Dolgellau – Machynlleth road saw removal of part of the trackbed of the former Corris Railway, closed in 1948, and left a costly problem for the present day revival of the oldest narrow gauge railway in Mid Wales. Although the Corris trackbed is largely intact southwards of Maespoeth Junction there is a need to build a new embankment including a bridge over the Nant Goedwig stream to allow the Southern Extension of the line to regain the original route.

The embankment will be some 440 metres in length and will need to be steeply sided as part of flood protection in the valley of the river Dulas. Many years of work has had to be carried out to obtain various permissions and licences ahead of work commencing and work has been carried out as resources and suitable materials have come to hand. Sections of new embankment have been built but a gap of some 300 metres remains to be filled together with the construction of the bridge over the Goedwig.

A major step forward took place at the end of March when a quantity of suitable material to extend the embankment was located near Dolgellau. Also a local contractor with the required plant and machinery was available and able to work within the current Government restrictions. Construction of the next portion of the Southern Extension has therefore started. It is intended that some of the rock will be used to create gabions (baskets filled with stone) to support the base of the embankment.

Corris Railway Chairman Richard Hamilton-Foyn explained that although this is very welcome progress there is still plenty to do before trains can travel over the new section of line which includes gradients of up to 1 in 30. This will be a good test for the Corris’ steam engines “Tattoo” No. 7 and, when it is complete, “Falcon” No.  10. “We have built up financial reserves for the Southern Extension and thank the many people who have supported us with donations over the years. Although these reserves amount to a six figure sum the present works are costing at least £70,000 and that means that most of our funds will have been spent with more very costly work, including the bridge, still to be done.”

Richard continued “Although this is not the largest proposed extension in the world of heritage railways it is very important for the future revival of the Corris Railway and will take us a good way towards our next target of doubling the length of our operating line. Our ultimate aim is to extend southwards at least as far as the Centre for Alternative Technology. This will provide a splendidly scenic journey along one of the most attractive valleys in Mid Wales with steep gradients and riverside scenery. It will also provide a valuable transport link between the various attractions in the Dulas Valley. We already maintain the former Corris Railway station at Esgairgeiliog and it awaits its first trains since 1948. We now need assistance to get there.”

Donations for the Southern Extension and, if necessary, to help the Railway through the current crisis can be made via the Corris Railway website www.corris.co.uk or cheques payable to Corris Railway can be sent to Corris Railway, Station Yard, Corris, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 9SH.

Covid-19 And Progress On The Corris Railway

Southern Extension Plant

As with the other British Heritage Railways the Corris Railway has had to suspend its operations, maintenance and restoration work pending the lifting of the lockdown and movement restrictions. On the plus side there has been progress on two of its major projects namely the Southern Extension of the line beyond Maespoeth Junction and the new steam locomotive, “Falcon” 0-4-2ST No. 10.

As its workforce is entirely voluntary the Railway has not had to meet staff wages during the enforced lockdown and with no trains moving and no activity in the workshops or at trackside some costs including coal, fuel and utilities have been greatly reduced. However there are others to be met, often overlooked or unrealised by enthusiasts and passengers, including insurance payments and licensing of online tools such as accountancy packages. With no fares being paid and no retail sales apart from the Corris’ online shop these costs do eat into reserves. In addition, at a time when communication with Society members is crucial, there are the costs of producing the quarterly “Corris-Pondent” magazine. The Railway will also need to have finance available in its general funds ready to cover costs of restarting operations as restrictions ease.

The enforced shut down has been frustrating for the Corris workforce and membership. This is particularly so as materials have been sourced from Dolgellau for another phase of construction of the Southern Extension works, which will see the operating line extending further along the Dulas Valley from Maespoeth Junction, and work is planned with £70,000 earmarked for the start of embankment earthworks. Considerably more will have to be raised, however, for this part of the revival of the oldest narrow gauge railway in Mid Wales.

Continued support for the target of £44,000 to complete the bottom half of new steam locomotive “Falcon” No. 10 at the workshops of Alan Keef Ltd near Ross on Wye has brought that stage of construction into clear sight with less than £14,000 left to raise. Stainless steel for and some work on the loco’s smokebox as an early stage of the “top half” has been costed at a further £1,000.

Fund raising towards to the next stage of construction of the new Corris station was also progressing, the plan there including a new track plan with a traverser and new platform.

Some work has continued away from the Railway in members’home workshops including manufacture of components for the next carriage due to enter traffic, number 23. Hopefully this will take matters forward when access to the carriage shed at Maespoeth Junction is possible once again.

Donations towards the Corris General Fund, which will assist with the continuing costs during the shutdown and the eventual resumption of operations, and also for the works on the Southern Extension can be made via Paypal by using one of the links below:



General Funds
The Southern Extension

The Southern Extension


The Tattoo Locomotive
The Southern Extension

The Falcon Locomotive


F.O.C.R.M The Museum
Please consider helping us to develop the Railway? Every penny counts, Thank You!

Good Progress With Funding For New Corris Railway Steam Locomotive

The Corris Railway Falcon Locomotive becomes an 0-4-2 for the first time having had the trailing truck fitted.

Having announced in November 2019 a target of £44,000 to complete work on the motion of its new steam locomotive, “Falcon” No. 10, the Corris Railway has seen a very gratifying level of support. £30,000 is now to hand and committed to allow construction to continue at the workshops of Alan Keef Ltd near Ross-on-Wye.

Construction of the engine has, amongst other work on the “bottom half”, seen the trailing pony truck put in place making No. 10 into an 0-4-2 for the first time.

Commenting on the project Andy Cooper of the Corris Railway Society said:

We are very grateful to everyone who has made a donation towards the target of having the driving wheels and motion being moved by compressed air at Keef’s Open Day in September. There have been a number of one off donations, some very generous indeed, many Society members paid “extra” when renewing their memberships and we have a steady cash flow from standing order payments. £14,000 remains to be raised to reach our target but if we can get there in the next few months we will be a major step along our way to having two steam engines based on the Corris for the first time since 1948.

Donations towards the “Falcon” can be made online at www.corris.co.uk or cheques payable to Corris Railway can be sent to Peter Guest, 38 Underwood Close, Callow Hill, Redditch, B97 5YS. Peter can also supply details of regular payments by standing order and anyone able to pay £20 or more a month for 30 months will receive a limited edition print of No. 10 by Jonathan Clay.

25th Anniversary Of The Corris Railway Society’s Model Railway Exhbition

A quarter of a century has now passed since the Corris Railway Society held its first Model Railway Exhibition in the school at Corris itself. In 2020 the venue will be Y Plas in Machynlleth and the exhibition will take place on August Bank Holiday Saturday and Sunday, the 29th and 30th.

Current exhibition organiser Bill Newton, who has held the reins for the last 15 years after taking over from Steve Parr, took up the story.

“As with many events it doesn’t feel like 25 years have gone by since the Corris Railway Society first staged what was then a Model Railway and Toy Exhibition, but time must be going by quickly when we’re enjoying ourselves! The show has been staged in a number of venues down the years but Y Plas is very suitable for a medium sized (12 to 15 layouts plus sales stands is our usual line-up) exhibition and is handily placed with car parking nearby. We have cut back from a 3 day event to 2 in recent years and profits go towards the revival of the Corris Railway itself”.

Bill continued

“Recent MRE’s have featured at least one layout where children can have a try at controlling the trains which may introduce them to the railway modelling hobby. We have also featured smaller sized layouts which can be fitted into modern, less spacious housing. And if there can be quite a lot of narrow gauge layouts, well the Corris Railway is the oldest narrow gauge railway in Mid Wales so that is where our Society’s members interests lie”.

More information about the Exhibition can be obtained by emailing enquiries@corris.co.uk

Volunteer Involvement In Construction Of New Steam Locomotive For Corris Railway As Funding Reaches Another Milestone

Falcon chassis 271119

Having announced a target of £44,000 to complete the bottom part of its new steam locomotive, so that it can be demonstrated working by means of compressed air in September 2020 during the Open Day at Alan Keef Ltd, the Corris Railway is pleased that funds are now in place to complete the outside motion. This work will cost £8,000 but the next major steps to complete the inside motion and its assembly between the frames of the 0-4-2ST require a further £22,000 so major income is still being sought. Donations can be made online via www.corris.co.uk or cheques payable to Corris Railway, sent to Peter Guest, 38 Underwood Close, Callow Hill, Redditch, B97 5YS.

Looking at other areas of the project it is estimated that a sum in excess of £30,000 from the final overall bill will be saved by reason of Corris Railway volunteers constructing some parts of No. 10, a 21st century version of one of the “Falcon” locomotives that served the Corris in its independent, GWR and BR days. Following a meeting at Alan Keef’s at the end of November 2019 it has been agreed that a team of volunteers with engineering skills and facilities will construct the brake gear, smokebox, bunker and cab. The cab will have a profile similar to that of the original engines, aided by parts of the original from No. 3, which are on display in the workshops at Maespoeth Junction, that can serve as templates. However the cab will stand somewhat taller to cope with larger 21st century footplate crews. The visit to Keef’s also saw the pony truck complete with trailing wheels delivered to the works following construction and assembly by Corris volunteers. As the Maespoeth workforce are also engaged in carriage and waggon construction plus maintenance work on other locos and rolling stock more hands will be very welcome and they should contact volunteering@corris.co.uk as a starting point.

Waggon Construction And Restoration At The Corris Railway

In the carriage shed at Maespoeth Junction a small team of Corris Railway volunteers continue to construct and restore waggons for use in special events, photo charters and demonstration gravity train runs.

Working mainly on Tuesdays the team’s most recent completed job is a 2-plank vehicle at the end of November, which was immediately put to use for storage of presents ahead of the Santa Train operations, while work is continuing on repairing and straightening the bodywork of a metal bodied vehicle before it is ready for reassembly and linking with the wooden chassis.

Plans for 2020 include the recreation of a vehicle that once ran in the Dulas Valley and was characteristic of the Corris, a four wheeled trestle waggon used to move slate in slabs on an arrangement that resembled two easels back to back placed longitudinally on the chassis. Also due to arrive at Maespoeth is the metal body of a former waggon from the Aberllefenni slate quarries which is believed to have worked on the CR. The vehicle, which is to be restored to operating condition, has been kindly loaned to the Corris by its owner. A necessary related project will be construction of covered accommodation for the waggons as although the Maespoeth carriage shed is large it is not in the Tardis class and wooden stock left out in the open in the Dulas Valley tends to fall prey to damp and associated fungi in short order. Agreement on the design of this shelter for the waggons and its construction may have to precede further waggon work and will be another task for the volunteers to tackle.

The “Tuesday Gang” has also been working on progressing the new carriages, numbers 23 and 24 alongside the waggon work and new volunteers with wood and metal working skills will be welcome to help with the continuing revival of the oldest narrow gauge railway in Mid Wales. Potential new volunteers should contact enquiries@corris.co.uk

**”waggon” is the correct CR spelling.