Progress continues on several fronts with the revival of the Corris Railway. During the August holidays the opportunity was taken to move the wall of the village school in Corris as the first stage of developing the station area. This will be followed by moving the boundary of the station site as a prelude to creating a run round facility, which with the limitations of the station site area will incorporate a traverser. This will allow locomotives to head all trains rather than propelling in one direction as is current practice. The use of the traverser is necessary because the station site is shared with the village car park.
Following the roof work carried out on the former stable block building at Corris, which currently houses the railway museum and shop, windows have now been replaced. Some of those replaced have proved salvageable and will be put to use in the future. Meanwhile inside the carriage workshop at Maespoeth Junction more panels for carriage number 23 have been delivered from members’ home workshops and are being fitted as part of the ongoing construction work. A heritage waggon has been stripped down for restoration and a van has been refurbished. Station fencing at Maespoeth Junction is being repaired and repainted, an ongoing task in the Mid Wales climate.
Construction of the new steam locomotive, “Falcon” number 10, has taken another step forward with machining of the pony truck wheels and manufacture of the axle. As a guide to the costs of loco building these 12 inch diameter solid wheels are costing £350 each, the axle £540 and four bearings £52 each. The pony truck has already been manufactured in the workshops of two volunteers but main construction work is being carried out at Lea, just outside Ross on Wye approx. 23 km SE of Hereford, in the workshops of Alan Keef Ltd. Alan Keef Ltd. will be holding an “Open Day” on Saturday 22nd September 2018 where progress of all projects, including the Corris Railway Falcon locomotive, can be seen and viewed at close quarters. The “Open Day” will run from 11:00am to 4:30pm with all proceeds going to a local charity. More information can be seen here.
There will be a touch of the Old West of the USA in the Dulas Valley when the Corris Railway stages a themed two day family event on Saturday August 4th and Sunday August 5th.
On those two dates young persons aged under 15 who arrive at Corris station in cowboy, cowgirl or American Indian garb will enjoy a free train ride to and from Maespoeth Junction. At the Junction there will be a variety of children’s activities to take part in including story-telling, quoits, splat the rat, and cactus hoop-la. There will also be crafts activity to be tried and home-made refreshments featuring cowboy biscuits (whilst stocks last).
Trains will leave Corris station every hour, on the hour, between 11.00 and 16.00. The station is in the middle of the village and can be reached by leaving the A487 Machynlleth-Dolgellau road at the Braich Goch Inn. Trains will also run, but without Wild West events on Monday and Tuesday August 6th and 7th.
In the latest edition of the Corris Railway Society’s magazine “The Corris-Pondent”, Chairman Richard Hamilton-Foyn set out information about the current position regarding the planned extension of the operating railway.
Currently, the main running line terminates just south of Maespoeth Junction on a stiffly graded section of the original trackbed. Beyond this however, the next section of the former route has been lost beneath the A487 Machynlleth-Dolgellau road and the Corris is faced with the task of building a tall section of embankment and a bridge over the River Goedwig. To further complicate matters, flood prevention requirements in the Dulas Valley mean that the embankment will need to have steeper sides than would otherwise be the case. Although the Corris would love to recreate the spirit of the “deviationist” era of the Ffestiniog, much of the civil engineering will have to involve the work of contractors.
Before any work can begin, various permissions and agreements from a number of national and local authorities need to be secured, be in place and valid simultaneously. Much of the hard work is being carried out to achieve this and the Corris is aware that once this stage is reached construction will have to begin quickly. Richard describes this as a “tipping point”, both figuratively and literally, for the future of the line and makes it clear that, thanks to very generous support to date, there is a six figure sum in a dedicated fund for the Extension. Much more will need to be raised and spent to double the current length of the running line. Current political and financial matters make the seeking of grants towards the work an uncertain process but the Corris remains committed to continuing the revival of the oldest narrow gauge railway in Mid-Wales.
Appropriately enough the Corris Railway Society’s Model Railway Exhibition will feature narrow gauge layouts when it takes place at Y Plas in Machynlleth on August 25th and 26th. Representing the most popular narrow gauge 009 scale will be “World’s End” and “Hensbarrow Road”, whilst the light-hearted “Bumf Mine” is built to 7 mm standards. “Walmer Bridge” flies the flag for the 16 mm scale and demonstrates that smaller area layouts are possible in this “garden scale”.
0 gauge features on four layouts. “The Depot” and “Clough Street Sidings” portray the dieselised railway of today whilst nostalgia for days and toys gone by will be stirred by a visiting selection of Hornby clockwork and electric trains and a layout featuring the 1960’s Tri-ang “Big – Big Train” range.
More Tri-ang nostalgia from half a century ago will be represented by a TT gauge layout and there will be a trio of layouts in N, depicting a North German scene and two with a Welsh theme, “Taste of Amlwch” and “Dora Slate Incline”.
The most popular 4mm scale is represented by three very contrasting exhibits. “Westgate MPD” is based on the one time locoshed at Chester Northgate. An “Underground Ernie” layout features trains from the television series and children are invited to “drive” them. And there will a layout designed to fit into minimum space – in this case a window cill.
Sales stands include a return of the jewellery and decorative items from “Kate’s Glass”, railwayana, new and pre-owned model railway equipment, and of course fund raisers for the revival of the Corris Railway including the construction of the new “Falcon” steam locomotive and a Corris Railway Sales Stand.
Trains will be running from Corris station on the re-opened section of the Railway on Saturday 25th, Sunday 26th, Monday 27th and Tuesday 28th August.