Although the Corris Railway is not hosting many special events in 2022 it was pleased to be a venue during the Machynlleth Comedy Festival once again. The Festival is one of the largest of its kind in Britain and performers bring in both established material and works in progress, many being developed for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Once again a full train of the audience and performers travelled from Corris to Maespoeth Junction where the gig took place in the carriage shed before regular services began. Thanks go to the Corris Institute for provision of the chairs for use in the shed.
With the traverser now in use at Corris station train services are operating on Saturdays during the earlier part of the season with more dates of operation in the main season and during Bank Holidays.
Meanwhile in the workshops at Maespoeth Junction work has continued on rolling stock with roof boards added to new build clerestoried roof carriage number 24 and glazing is underway. Offsite work for carriage 24 has included work on a tip-up seat which when tipped will leave space for a wheelchair.
A team continues progress with the trestle waggon and Permanent Way van 221 is receiving attention. It is one of a pair of vans acquired as War Dept. surplus from Trecwn in 2005 and after nearly two decades of use for permanent way service work was needed. The floor has seen its planks replaced courtesy of a donation from a working member. For an interim period it will have two dumb buffers and two spring buffers but eventually it will have a complete quartet with springs. Screw couplings will also be fitted.
Following the resumption of work on the new build Falcon locomotive for the Corris Railway at Alan Keef Ltd, sections of the footplate have been made and were being fitted in April. This is a prelude to the mounting of the smokebox.
In addition the handbrake screw had been machined and connected up to the rest of the mechanism to complete that part of the brake assembly. Also, a decision had been made on the type of air brake cylinder that will be used so that suitable mountings could be made. This was not strictly part of the planned work prioritised at this stage of construction but as with many interconnected parts really needed to be done to establish clearance on other components.
With the locomotive’s inside motion, and overall small size, accurate measuring of components and clearances is crucial. This consideration means that a volunteer has constructed a wooden ashpan for trial fitting before the same volunteer commits to producing one in steel that will be fitted to the engine. Elsewhere another volunteer has made the firebox doors and opening mechanism.
The new steam locomotive will be the second to enter service on the revived section of the oldest narrow gauge railway in Mid Wales, situated in the beautiful Dulas Valley between Machynlleth and Dolgellau. The Falcon is a 21st Century evocation of a trio of engines built in 1878 at the Falcon Works in Loughborough. One of these is now Sir Haydn on the Talyllyn Railway. The new build will differ from the originals in some respects, most visibly a higher cab to accommodate drivers and firemen who are taller than their Victorian predecessors. The new cab does however have a similar outline to that carried by the original trio during their time at the Corris.
The target, for the first steaming of the locomotive, subject to continued successful fund raising, is September 24th 2022 when it is planned to appear as the centerpiece of a charity open day at the workshops of Alan Keef Ltd. Further work including painting will follow with a further target of entry into service on the Corris in the first part of 2023. Again this is dependent about the rate of fundraising.
Donations for the new engine are welcome in order to meet this timescale 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. Peter is also able to provide standing order payment forms.