Volunteer Involvement In Construction Of New Steam Locomotive For Corris Railway As Funding Reaches Another Milestone
Having announced a target of £44,000 to complete the bottom part of its new steam locomotive, so that it can be demonstrated working by means of compressed air in September 2020 during the Open Day at Alan Keef Ltd, the Corris Railway is pleased that funds are now in place to complete the outside motion. This work will cost £8,000 but the next major steps to complete the inside motion and its assembly between the frames of the 0-4-2ST require a further £22,000 so major income is still being sought. Donations can be made online via www.corris.co.uk or cheques payable to Corris Railway, sent to Peter Guest, 38 Underwood Close, Callow Hill, Redditch, B97 5YS.
Looking at other areas of the project it is estimated that a sum in excess of £30,000 from the final overall bill will be saved by reason of Corris Railway volunteers constructing some parts of No. 10, a 21st century version of one of the “Falcon” locomotives that served the Corris in its independent, GWR and BR days. Following a meeting at Alan Keef’s at the end of November 2019 it has been agreed that a team of volunteers with engineering skills and facilities will construct the brake gear, smokebox, bunker and cab. The cab will have a profile similar to that of the original engines, aided by parts of the original from No. 3, which are on display in the workshops at Maespoeth Junction, that can serve as templates. However the cab will stand somewhat taller to cope with larger 21st century footplate crews. The visit to Keef’s also saw the pony truck complete with trailing wheels delivered to the works following construction and assembly by Corris volunteers. As the Maespoeth workforce are also engaged in carriage and waggon construction plus maintenance work on other locos and rolling stock more hands will be very welcome and they should contact email@example.com as a starting point.
In the carriage shed at Maespoeth Junction a small team of Corris Railway volunteers continue to construct and restore waggons for use in special events, photo charters and demonstration gravity train runs.
Working mainly on Tuesdays the team’s most recent completed job is a 2-plank vehicle at the end of November, which was immediately put to use for storage of presents ahead of the Santa Train operations, while work is continuing on repairing and straightening the bodywork of a metal bodied vehicle before it is ready for reassembly and linking with the wooden chassis.
Plans for 2020 include the recreation of a vehicle that once ran in the Dulas Valley and was characteristic of the Corris, a four wheeled trestle waggon used to move slate in slabs on an arrangement that resembled two easels back to back placed longitudinally on the chassis. Also due to arrive at Maespoeth is the metal body of a former waggon from the Aberllefenni slate quarries which is believed to have worked on the CR. The vehicle, which is to be restored to operating condition, has been kindly loaned to the Corris by its owner. A necessary related project will be construction of covered accommodation for the waggons as although the Maespoeth carriage shed is large it is not in the Tardis class and wooden stock left out in the open in the Dulas Valley tends to fall prey to damp and associated fungi in short order. Agreement on the design of this shelter for the waggons and its construction may have to precede further waggon work and will be another task for the volunteers to tackle.
The “Tuesday Gang” has also been working on progressing the new carriages, numbers 23 and 24 alongside the waggon work and new volunteers with wood and metal working skills will be welcome to help with the continuing revival of the oldest narrow gauge railway in Mid Wales. Potential new volunteers should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
**”waggon” is the correct CR spelling.
The Corris Railway will be running its annual Santa Special Steam Trains on December 7th and 8th and as usual the volunteers will be travelling from near and far to dress up and make the families welcome as they enjoy a steam train ride to meet Santa in his grotto.
The trains will leave Corris station (which can be found in the village by turning off the A487 Machynlleth- Dolgellau road at the Braich Goch Inn) at 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.00 and 15.00. Steam locomotive Number 7 and its train will take the passengers to meet Santa who will be greeting them at Maespoeth Junction and will, of course, have a present ready for all the children. There will also be some seasonal refreshments available for children and adults alike.
The trains are not pre-bookable, passengers simply turn-up and pay on the day of travel. Tickets cost £8.50 for children aged 1 to 15, £6 for adults and seniors and £25 for families (2 adults/seniors plus 2 children).
The Santa Trains are always an enjoyable end to the operating season for both the Corris’ volunteer workforce, who take a break from winter work on restoration and maintenance, and for the younger passengers for which it is often their first train ride, enjoying the unique sounds and aromas of a steam engine at close quarters as part of their day out.