The Great Little Trains Of Wales Welcome The Corris Railway To Membership

The first train on the first weekend of passenger services in 2021

The ‘Great Little Trains of Wales’ is delighted to announce the Corris Railway will be joining as its latest new member, joining the existing eleven Welsh scenic railways in the consortium.

The railways which make up the Great Little Trains of Wales (GLTW) have in common that they travel through some of the very best scenery the British Isles has to offer and a very special way of seeing it aboard a historic narrow-gauge steam train. Each railway shares the same passion for its history and surroundings and takes pride in the charm of its old-time steam trains, polished paintwork and brass, but each railway also offers something a little quirky and different to its passengers.

The inclusion of the ‘Corris Railway’ brings the consortium to twelve (see below for full list of members) and adds further prestige to this already world-renowned brand. Amongst its members, GLTW boasts the oldest independent railway company in the world, one of Europe’s most exciting railway projects, and some of the most recognisable engines on the planet – including enthusiasts’ favourite, ‘Russell’.

GLTW Secretary, Ray Reid said:

“‘The Great Little Trains of Wales’ was started in 1970 to encourage visitors to come to Wales in general and to ride the narrow-gauge railways in particular. The addition of the Corris Railway to the existing eleven railways makes the GLTW’s Discount and Gold cards even better value and a must have for anyone intending to visit several of the railways during the year.”

The ‘Corris Railway’ is a 2’3” gauge railway, whose origins date back to the 1850’s. It was initially built to carry slate from the quarries at Corris Uchaf and Aberllefenni in the Dulas Valley. The railway ran until 1948, but preservation began in the 1960’s. Today it operates regularly with a mix of steam and diesel traction between Maespoeth and Corris Station, and has exciting plans to extend its operations.

Richard Hamilton-Foyn, Chairman of the Corris Railway added:

“When the preservation of the Corris Railway started in 1966, the pioneer volunteers had nothing but one decrepit building to work on. Since then, we have purchased land, restored the infrastructure, laid track and built a completely new train with modern recreations of the original Corris Victorian carriages and a Corris steam locomotive. As we move into the next phase of the development of the railway with a second steam locomotive, a new station in Corris and a southern extension we are delighted to have been invited to join the GLTW organisation. We are ready to contribute to the future prosperity of all of the Great Little Trains here in Wales.”

See the best for less: For just £15 buy the ‘Great Little Trains of Wales Discount Card’ which gives you a 20% discount on the price of a return journey on all 12 members’ railways (including the Corris Railway!) – which is valid for one year from the first date of use (Terms & Conditions apply). There are also discounts for ‘Great Little Trains of Wales’ Card holders with selected accommodation providers close to many member railways. Cards are available at Booking Offices and online at GLTW website: www.greatlittletrainsofwales.co.uk

Visit Great Little Trains of Wales at: www.greatlittletrainsofwales.co.uk

Extra information: The 12 GLTW member railways are:

Progress At The Corris Railway

The entry into traffic on May 30th of the latest new build carriage number 23 for the Corris Railway proved to be timely as the services on that day, and the following Bank Holiday Monday, ran virtually full with the new online tickets service working well. With Covid precautions in place, and the need to deep clean trains between workings, the Mid Wales line ran three round trips from Corris station to the current railhead on the Southern Extension. This meant that trains returning to Corris had to restart on the 1 in 30 gradient and passengers were able to enjoy the sound of steam Tattoo locomotive No. 7 tackling the gradient and the load.

With number 23 in service the carriage building team at Maespoeth Junction has begun to fit woodwork to the steel skeleton of number 24. Floorboards have been put and place and the first pieces of bodywork were added. Also being tackled in the carriage shed at the Junction was heritage waggon number 5 which will form part of demonstration freight workings in due course.

Volunteer work has also continued with components for new build Falcon locomotive 0-4-2ST. In the East Midlands the fittings for the smokebox door are complete and the door is ready for fitting when the smokebox work is completed at the workshops of Alan Keef Ltd, where work on the motion is approaching completion. Buffers for the new loco have been constructed at Maespoeth and volunteer work is underway on the brake gear. Donations for the new engine are welcome and 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.

Corris Railway Resumes Passenger Services On May 30th With Online Ticketing In Place

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Provided of course that the current plans for relaxation of Covid restrictions are followed the Corris Railway resumes passenger operations for the first time since 2019 on Sunday May 30th and will also operate on May 31st.

Trains will depart from Corris station at 11.00am, 1.00pm and 3.00pm and will be deep cleaned between journeys. Sadly, Covid and distancing requirements will rule out the usual talk and conducted tour of the Maespoeth Junction workshops but trains will stop there for photography and a leg stretch. They will also run on to the current southern limit of the revived section of the line. Following the first two days of operation the trains will then run on Sundays, although the situation will be monitored as to the possibility of extra dates. It is still planned to hold a two day special event on September 4th and 5th.

It will be necessary for would be passengers to book a compartment on a train in advance and compartments will cost twenty five pounds, regardless of the number of people occupying them up to the maximum of eight adults. The occupants should also be from an approved bubble grouping, as appropriate to regulations at the time of travel, or a family. Subject to availability tickets will be available until shortly before departure times. Tickets must be booked in advance via www.corris.co.uk/tickets

The booking system was developed in-house by the Corris Railway webmaster Alf Oxford and his son Mike and no third party platform has been utilised in its setting up or will be involved in its future maintenance. This is invaluable for a small railway and society who are fortunate to have volunteers with the requisite skills in the membership, able and willing to spend many unpaid hours over the work as do engineers and others connected with the CR.

Apart from the bookings the website, www.corris.co.uk carries regularly updated news and photographs of work in progress on the railway, with the latest development being the screening of CR videos directly from YouTube, and also has an online shop facility. Alf has recently stepped down as editor of the quarterly magazine The Corris-Pondent after 25 years at the helm.

The Museum and Shop at Corris will be open but initially no refreshments will be available and payments must be made by card. In addition a one way system for visitors will apply in this area.

Latest New Build Carriage Enters Service On The Corris Railway As Work Progresses Well With New Build Steam Locomotive

The ventilator covers have been fitted to the ends of carriage No. 23.

With the latest easing of Covid 19 restrictions Corris Railway Society volunteers have been able to resume socially distanced working in the workshops at Maespoeth Junction. One of the first tasks undertaken was completion of the braking system for new build carriage 23 ahead of its planned entry into traffic at the start of the 2021 operating season.

Carriage No. 23 is the third of four new carriages being constructed for the Corris and recreates the appearance of the Victorian/Edwardian era vehicles that once carried passengers in the Dulas Valley. There are however differences to meet 21st Century safety requirements, most notably steel being used in place of wood for the framing of the bodywork. As with carriage No. 21 it has an arc roof, whilst carriage No. 22 has a clerestory. Internally passengers sit on longitudinal seats in two compartments per coach with each compartment seating up to eight adult passengers.

Construction of Carriage No. 24 is advancing in the Maespoeth Junction carriage shed. It will have a clerestory roof and will incorporate a first class observation car portion. Although construction is carried out at the Junction members of the team produce some components in their home workshops ready for final fitting.

It is planned that by the end of 2022 the Corris carriages will be headed by new build steam locomotive Falcon 0-4-2ST No. 10, providing that income from supporters can allow work to progress. At the end of April Corris Railway Society volunteers had completed work on the hinges and opening mechanism for the smokebox door and these were fitted to the door pressing. Volunteers had also begun work on the brake gear.

The main locomotive construction is being carried out at the workshops of Alan Keef Ltd near Ross-on-Wye and there the eccentrics and expansion links were among parts that had been machined and fitted to take the bottom half of the loco closer to completion and demonstration running by means of compressed air. When the inside motion is complete the plan is to make the slide block and fixings to mount the pony truck on the loco then some necessary sections of foot plate followed by a start on mounting the boiler.

Donations towards the cost of constructing locomotive No. 10 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, B97 5YS.

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