Progress And Caution At The Corris Railway

Although it was unable to run its planned 2020 train services after assessing the potential problems caused by Covid-19, progress has been made on the Corris Railway with both ongoing projects and maintenance.

On the maintenance front the running line has seen attention to sleepers and rail joints and the removal of the former LNER lever frame from Corris station for refurbishment. A very welcome development has been the “Sundae Gang”, a group of generally young volunteers, who have tackled both trackwork and lineside vegetation including opening out some views. Working on Sundays they have acquired their name from “refuelling breaks” that involve cake consumption.

A spell of dry weather in September, after a disappointing August, allowed more construction work on the embankment south of Maespoeth Junction and utilisation of more of the material available from Dolgellau. With the new-build steam locomotive “Falcon” number 10 a volunteer based in the East Midlands has produced patterns for the brake blocks and the brake column stem.

At Maespoeth Junction volunteers have continued to bring new build carriage number 23 closer to being able to enter traffic when services resume and there has been work on heritage waggons. A “working week” by a number of other volunteers greatly advanced the construction of the shelter for the waggons which will free valuable space in the carriage shed.

However in the latest edition of the Corris Railway Society magazine the “Corris-Pondent” Chairman Richard Hamilton-Foyn advised members that should the pandemic enforce restrictions on running passenger trains and “Railway For The Day” experiences continuing into 2021 then hard decisions may have to be made both to safeguard what has already been achieved with the revival of the Corris and its future. The lack of operations has cut out fares, on-site donations, and on day sales and although there have been generous donations from members and others, plus useful income from sales via the online shop this has not fully compensated. Richard emphasised his reluctance to “go cap in hand” to members and supporters but there is uncertainty ahead and help is appreciated.

Any donations to specific projects or general funds will be welcome. They can be made via www.corris.co.uk or cheques payable to “Corris Railway” can be sent to the Corris Railway, Station Yard, Corris, Machynlleth, SY20 9SH.

Volunteer Work Begins As Progress Continues With Construction Of New Steam Locomotive For Corris Railway

RH piston rod

Following the departure of the boiler and smokebox of the new build “Falcon” 0-4-2ST from the carriage shed at Maespoeth Junction work will soon be getting underway there on the brake gear for the locomotive. This will be carried out by two or three of the team who have previously made brake components for the carriages constructed in the workshops at the Junction. Meanwhile another Corris Railway Society volunteer will be working in the East Midlands to produce patterns for the brake blocks and the cast iron brake stand to support the shaft and handle. This work will save money as construction proceeds.

Meanwhile in late August at Alan Keef’s workshops near Ross-on-Wye, as the boiler and smokebox were arriving, work was continuing on the motion for the “Falcon”. Castings for the eccentrics had arrived from the foundry and the crossheads had been trial fitted. Most recently the righthand sidepiston rod was in place so that the slide bar alignment could be checked. Once the slide bars have beenfinally aligned and bolted the crosshead slippers would be machined to suit. The valve buckles had beenexternally machined and some weeks earlier sent away for the insides to be wire cut out.

Thoughts are now turning towards other fittings and offsite work is underway also on the Salter Spring Balances which will control the safety valves in due course.

Discussions are ongoing about boiler fittings for the loco. Some are straightforward but others requirecareful consideration so that the parts which will not only do the job well but also look right. Theaim is to put together a definitive list so that best prices can be sought.

The work being carried out and the raw materials required for it are of course consuming funds and donations will be gratefully received. These can be made online via the “Falcon” section of the website www.corris.co.uk or cheques payable to Corris Railway can be sent to Peter Guest, 38 Underwood Close, Callow Hill, Redditch, Worcs, B97 5YS