The Corris Railway has reluctantly had to join the list of lines that will not be re-opening for normal passenger trains in 2020 due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. However with the easing of restrictions in Wales the volunteer workforce has been able to progress various projects on the line to further improve the Railway ahead of 2021.
The problems with reopening are threefold. The recreation of the bogie coach carriages from the Corris’ first incarnation has led to an internal layout of open saloons accessed by a shared entrance in the centre of the vehicle. Possibilities of social distancing are further reduced by the tight loading gauge.
Social distancing is also a consideration with the talk and sheds tour which is offered to passengers arriving at Maespoeth Junction, and for passengers in the shop and refreshment area at Corris. During wet weather, not exactly unknown in the Dulas Valley, passengers tend to use this as a waiting area until the train arrives.
However the volunteer workforce has pressed ahead with various projects. Construction of the new shelter for the heritage waggons at Maespoeth Jnc. is underway and once the waggons are in their new home more space in the carriage shed will be available. Carriage No. 23 is approaching completion and should be available for traffic in 2021, assuming no new restrictions on work inside the shed are imposed. Clerestory roofed carriage No. 24, which will eventually bring First Class travel to the Corris for the first time since 1930, is also progressing on both metal and wood working fronts.
Between Corris and the Junction work has also been carried out with vegetation clearance and track maintenance being undertaken.
The newly manufactured smokebox for new-build “Falcon” steam engine No. 10 has been taken to Maespoeth Junction and temporarily united with the boiler. Both will be taken to the workshops of Alan Keef near Ross-on-Wye when work on the bottom half of the locomotive is complete.
Donations towards the Corris General Fund, which will assist with the continuing costs during the suspension of operations and their eventual resumption, and also for the works on the ongoing Southern Extension can be made via Paypal at www.corris.co.uk.