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.
With progress continuing on the construction of the new “Falcon” steam locomotive for the Corris Railway at the works of Alan Keef Ltd a financial target of £44,000 has been announced to complete work on the chassis, valve gear and motion. If this can be achieved before September 2020 it will be possible to see the wheels and motion moving by means of compressed air at the Open Day at Keef’s workshops near Ross-on-Wye.
Andy Cooper of the Corris Railway Society commented:
“Progress on number 10, the “Falcon”, has been going well and if we can raise the £44,000 sum we not only have the loco complete as to frames, wheels and motion but will also be getting closer to the point where we can unite this phase of the work with the boiler which we have already had constructed by Israel Newton. Our first target is to raise £8,000 by the end of January to complete the outside motion. The slidebars and mounting brackets for this element are completed, and the next stage is machining of the crosshead castings, gudgeon pins machining to suit, and a set of bronze slippers machining to suit. Finally all components will need assembly onto the cylinders and motion brackets which are already in place. After that work will turn to the inside motion. Many components for this have been manufactured already but even so completion will cost a further £22,000.”
Donations towards the “Falcon” 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. Peter can also supply details of regular payments by standing order and anyone able to pay £20 or more a month for 30 months will receive a limited edition print of number 10 by Jonathan Clay.