The Corris Railway Society’s Model Railway Exhibition will take place at Y Plas in Machynlleth on the Saturday and Sunday of August Bank Holiday Weekend, August 24th and 25th with the doors open from 10.00 to 4.30 pm each day. Visitors will find a mixture of model layouts, some inspiring nostalgia for older generations, sales stands and a craft stall.
As might be expected narrow gauge models feature quite prominently in the line-up ranging from the large scale 16mm (with live steam and battery power) and a Gn15 scale representation of an estate railway serving a dubious cash crop, through to the ever popular 009. One of the rather less common narrow gauge scales, OOn3, is used to depict Crosby station (closed in 1968) on the Isle of Man Railway and Roarkes Landing represents American practice in Hon30.
O, OO and N gauge layouts will also feature. A couple of these layouts demonstrate the opportunities in minimum space in modern housing, being designed to fit on an ironing board and a window cill respectively, and those of a certain age will have memories of catalogues and toy shop windows evoked by Tri-ang TT and Trix Twin layouts. A chance to see those things that youngsters in years past wanted to have but couldn’t get the pocket money to stretch to. On a similar theme there will be a display of tinplate toys.
Trade wise the show will welcome back Nick and Dee Lowe selling railway ephemera and Martin Parry’s huge selection of models both new and second-hand with the majority being OO scale. Kate Packham also returns with her wide selection of jewellery and decorative items made from recycled glass (the organiser’s lady wife usually makes a bee-line for this) and the Corris will have a sales stand and a tombola, plus a fund raiser for the Falcon locomotive selling a range of donated items.
Refreshments and light snacks are sold and there is free parking close by. Admission costs £4.00 for adults, £3.50 for seniors £2 for children and £10 for a family (2 adults and 2 children). Plus trains will be running on the revived section of the Corris Railway, some four miles north of Machynlleth on August 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th.
Work has continued with the construction of the next steam engine for the revival of the Corris Railway, “Falcon” No. 10. Andy Cooper who is acting as the liaison between the Corris Railway Society and Alan Keef’s reports:
“Falcons have a rather odd arrangement whereby the cylinders fit into large slots cut in the front of the frames with headstock angle plates bolted on in front to trap the cylinder. Some of the current work being carried out at Alan Keef Ltd. is to do the necessary machining and creating the fixings to accommodate and secure the cylinders in this way including the fitted bolts needed for the front headstock angle plates. Other jobs being carried out now are machining a “lead” into the front of the cylinder bores, and drilling and tapping the remaining holes needed on the cylinders. The eccentric rods are being worked on and it is planned to fit all of the cylinder studs so that the various covers can be fitted and datums for setting up crossheads and slide bars can be established.”
As always progress with the construction of The Falcon Locomotive depends on the rate of fund raising and more information can be seen here on the Corris web site. Many of the motion parts have been manufactured and are ready for fitting.
Meanwhile the Corris’ volunteer workforce at Maespoeth Junction has continued to work on various projects. More internal fitting out has been carried out on carriage No. 23 for which, in addition, glazing has been prepared and is now being fitted. The other carriage under construction No. 24 has had its welded metal carcase completed and has been mounted on bogies. This allowed it to have its first journey on the running line, a round trip between Maespoeth Junction and Corris with Ruston Hornsby diesel No. 6 supplying the motive power. Work is also underway on reconstruction of a 2 plank waggon for use in gravity train demonstrations, galas and photo charters as required.
Another important job completed by volunteers is the construction of a fuel store at Maespoeth Junction, giving neater and drier accommodation for both coal and wood.
August is the main month for train operations on the Corris Railway with trains running on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays between Corris station and Maespoeth Junction. It is intended that the trains should be headed by steam locomotive No. 7, although if a problem arises a diesel may have to substitute. Trains leave Corris station at hourly intervals between 11.00 and 16.00. The Museum and sales area at Corris will be open and other refreshments can be purchased in the village café, less than 100 yards from the station.
For the younger family members, especially those who like tales of magical events August 3rd and 4th are days to note as any child dressed as a wizard or a dragon will travel for free on the trains and there will be children’s activities once the train reaches Maespoeth Junction. Some home-made refreshments might also prove tempting.
August Bank Holiday Weekend sees trains operating but in addition there is the Model Railway Exhibition taking place at Y Plas in Machynlleth. As in the past there will be layouts in various scales with some emphasis leaning towards narrow gauge and minimum space operations. For those of an age to remember the model trains they wanted but whose pocket money always fell short of the target there will be layouts featuring the now discontinued Tri-ang TT and Trix Twin ranges. Sales stands will sell model equipment, railwayana, books and DVDs and we should not forget Kate Packham’s stand selling jewellery and ornaments made of recycled and recovered glass. Refreshments are available and there is free parking close by. The doors are open between 10.00 and 16.30 on each day, giving a chance to ride the trains and also visit the exhibition.
Machynlleth offers a wide range of pubs, cafes and takeaways for anyone wishing to enjoy a lunch or afternoon tea.
The Corris Railway is not the best known “heritage railway” in Britain by any stretch of the imagination as it goes about the revival of the oldest narrow gauge line in Mid Wales. It was therefore something of a surprise for the volunteer workforce to learn that it had featured in the “The Times of India”, a leading English language newspaper in the sub-continent.
The newspaper contacted the Corris Railway Society because of another planned heritage railway scheme, this one being based in the state of Kerala. The state government is working with Tata Corporation to revive the Kundale Valley Light Railway which was constructed in 1910 to move tea in chests out of the valley and on to the markets. The motive power used a century ago was a Kerr Stuart “Tattoo” class narrow gauge steam engine and via the internet the Indian revivalists discovered that the Corris had had a new version of the original design constructed at the start of the 21st Century. They got in touch and obtained information about the construction and subsequent history of CR No. 7 from CRS member Richard Shipman. Information about the Corris’ “Tattoo” locomotive can be found on the website at www.corris.co.uk and its story up to starting work on the Corris can be found in the booklet “The Tale of a “Tattoo”” by Peter Guest which can be purchased from the website online shop and at the Railway’s museum when train are running.
No. 7 is in turn a recreation of part of Corris Railway history. The inspiration for its building was the original CR No. 4 which arrived in the Dulas Valley from Kerr Stuart’s Stoke-on-Trent workshops in 1921 and having worked until the original line up the Dulas Valley closed in 1948 is now a valuable member of the locomotive fleet on the Talyllyn Railway, named “Edward Thomas”.
The Corris welcomed some South Asian visitors during its May Gala Day and hopes that its mention in “The Times of India” may generate some more interest and visits. Meanwhile work continues with the next steam engine for the revival:- “Falcon” No. 10 will recreate a design dating back to 1878.
Editors notes: The article in The Times Of India can be viewed here: Times Of India article – June 23rd 2019.