The Return Of The Corris Railway Society’s Model Railway Exhibition

Model Railway Layout

After a Covid enforced two year break the Corris Railway Society’s Model Railway Exhibition will be held at Y Plas in Machynlleth on August 27th and 28th. That is the Bank Holiday weekend so visitors will also have a chance to visit the revived section of the Corris, running along the Dulas Valley from the station in the village of Corris.

Once again the event has been organised by Bill Newton and visitors will be able to see 11 layouts in action ranging in scale from N to 16 mm. There will also be a static display of models courtesy of the Mid Wales Gauge 1 Association. Visitors will be able to try their hand at operating one of the layouts.

Among the layouts nostalgia will be stirred for some visitors by Trix Twin and Tri-ang Big Big trains at work, now over half a century since those marques were generally available.

There will be a variety of sales stands selling books, models and railwayana with one dedicated to fund raising sales for the Corris’ new build Falcon steam locomotive. Kate Packham will make a welcome return with her stand selling decorative items and jewellery which she makes from recycled glass.

Refreshments and light snacks will be available and the doors are open between 10.00 and 4.30 on both days. Car parking is available nearby.

Admission will be £4.00 for adults and £2.00 for children with a family ticket, covering 2 adults and 2 children available for £10.00.

Progress At The Corris Railway – June 2022

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.

Footplate Sections Fitted To New Corris Steam Locomotive As Volunteers Produce Further Components

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.

First Use Of The Traverser At Corris Station

No. 7 exiting the Traverser - 260322

Saturday March 26th was another significant date in the revival of the narrow gauge Corris Railway and the recreation of Corris Railway station when the new traverser was used for the first time to allow a steam engine to run round a set of passenger carriages. This will be a regular feature from the Easter weekend when the line begins its 2022 passenger services.

The first locomotive to be moved on the traverser was the Ruston and Hornsby 4-wheel diesel hydraulic No. 6 having worked a ballast train to Corris station and which already holds a place in Corris history as having worked the initial passenger trains after re-opening between 2003 and 2005. In the latter year the revived Railway took delivery of its first steam locomotive. 

Having passed a live steam test after annual maintenance the Corris’ Tattoo 0-4-2 saddle tank locomotive took a train of carriages from Maespoeth Junction to Corris where, after uncoupling from the train, it ran forward onto the newly installed traverser on which it was moved to the new run round loop track. It then ran in reverse to the other end of the coaching stock before the train returned to the Junction.

This was the culmination of work which began after the Railway had run its 2021 Santa Trains and which saw track relaid between the Braich Goch Farm Crossing and the station.There the loop was created in addition to a new platform. The new track is laid on sleepers made from recycled plastic between the crossing and the station area, whilst traditional sleepers are used in the station area itself.

The traverser was constructed by Statfold Engineering, based near Tamworth in Staffordshire. In use at Corris it is manually operated. Its installation will allow locomotives to be at the head of their trains in both directions on the Corris for the first time since 1948 when the original line closed.

The station rebuild is part of ongoing work to revive the oldest narrow gauge railway in Mid Wales. The original Corris station was demolished in 1968.

Because of present day site restrictions it is not possible to completely recreate the former station as it was but the new structure will eventually include an overall roof, a feature that made its predecessor an iconic part of the British narrow gauge scene.

After this latest phase of the work is completed further progress will require considerable funds to be raised via donations and, if they can be obtained, grants.

Donations towards the station project can be made online via www.corris.co.uk or cheques payable to Corris Railway can be sent to Corris Railway, Station Yard, Corris, Machynlleth, SY20 9SH.

After A Pause The Corris Railway Plans To Have New Falcon Locomotive In Steam In September

After discussions with Alan Keef Ltd the Corris Railway is targeting having its new steam locomotive Falcon No. 10 in steam, but not ready for traffic, at Keef’s 50th Anniversary Open Day on September 24th. This follows a review of the work required which will need thirty six thousand pounds to be raised by then if the target is to be met.

This sum, which includes a margin for over running of costs, is in addition to projected income from existing sources.

The locomotive’s wheels and motion are complete and have moved by means of compressed air, the boiler has been placed in the frames and the cab erected. The smokebox and other components have been manufactured.

To take matters further and reduce costs whilst work is underway at Keef’s, Corris Railway Society volunteers with engineering skills will take on production of various components including the saddle tank, fire hole door mechanism, ashpan and finishing the cab amongst other jobs. Volunteers have already produced components for the brake gear and, during the pause in work at Keef’s have been working on safety valve components. Part of this involved cooling the valve seats in a domestic freezer and burning a bag of nightlights under the dome. With the dome slightly expanded and the valve seats duly contracted the fitting work was achieved. Thanks also go to Barr and Grovesnor of Wolverhampton who have produced components for the safety valve equipment. Four springs, including spares, for the safety valve assembly have been supplied at a cost of £75 each and these can be sponsored along with other components at the foot of the Falcon section of the website www.corris.co.uk

One-off donations towards the September steaming costs can be made via the Falcon Locomotive section of the Corris website or cheques payable to Corris Railway can be sent to Peter Guest, 38 Underwood Close, Callow Hill, Redditch, B97 5YS. Standing order payments will help smooth out cashflow and assist with monitoring the finances and Peter can supply the necessary forms for these to be taken out.

Although the target is to have the locomotive steaming in September there will be other components that will be required to have the engine in service on the revived section of the Corris in the Dulas Valley, north of Machynlleth, including air pumps for braking, sanding gear and painting. This phase would require an extra forty thousand pounds to be raised. These will include fully stripping down and painting, finishing drawgear, fitting buffers, and final steam testing and commissioning. Further funding will be required for this work.

However the September steaming target must be reached first.

Should the targets be reached 2023 will see two Corris Railway owned steam locomotives at work in the Dulas Valley for the first time since the GWR purchased the Corris in 1930. This will be a short window before Tattoo 0-4-2ST No. 7 falls due for its next 10 year overhaul in 2024.

Remodelling Work At Corris Railway Station Begins

As planned, work is underway to remodel the track layout at Corris Station and construct a new platform before train services on the Mid-Wales narrow gauge Corris Railway resume over the Easter Weekend.

During the autumn of 2021 new sleepers made of recycled plastic were delivered to the Railway and Corris Railway Society volunteers worked to equip them with the necessary fittings to support the rails. As well as making good use of recycled material the plastic sleepers are expected to have a life of thirty years before needing replacement. The volunteers also planned and prepared the vehicles that would make up the works train and various components for the new track plan were prepared in advance in the Maespoeth Junction workshops.

Whilst this preparation was taking place construction of the traverser which will allow locomotives to run round their trains had begun at Statfold Engineering near Tamworth in Staffordshire.

After the 2021 Santa Trains had run, work at Corris began with the completion of lifting of the existing track and the removal of sections of the existing station platform. Recovered rail including the existing point at the station and sections of the platform will be used again during the revival of the Railway. Work continued during January to lift all track as far south as Braichgoch Farm Crossing.

At the end of January a new point for the station was delivered and over the weekend of January 29th and 30th new track was laid between the farm crossing and the station throat. Measurements were taken to calculate where the new point will be positioned. The plastic sleepered track will be used on the section of line between the station and crossing but traditional wooden sleepers will be installed in the station area.

Once the traverser has been delivered to Mid Wales and installed the rest of the trackwork comprising the passenger line and the run round loop will be put in place and a new platform constructed.

The station rebuild is part of ongoing work to revive the oldest narrow gauge railway in Mid Wales. The original Corris station was demolished in 1968.

Because of present day site restrictions it is not possible to completely recreate the former station as it was but the new structure will eventually include an overall roof, a feature that made its predecessor an iconic part of the British narrow gauge scene.

After this latest phase of the work is completed further progress will require considerable funds to be raised via donations and, if they can be obtained, grants.

Donations towards the station project can be made online via www.corris.co.uk or cheques payable to Corris Railway can be sent to Corris Railway, Station Yard, Corris, Machynlleth, SY20 9SH.

Work Is Paused On New Build Corris Railway Steam Locomotive

Dec 6th 2021. Falcon motion.

Mounting costs has caused the Corris Railway to temporarily pause work on the new build Falcon steam locomotive No. 10, being constructed by Alan Keef Ltd.

This has not been an easy decision for the Corris to make but from the formative years of the revival it has been Corris Railway Society policy not to spend money that it does not have and only dip into its general funds to complete particularly time sensitive projects.

During 2021 considerable progress had been made on the locomotive with both boiler and cab placed on the frames for checking and modifications to be made as necessary. This followed on from the completion of the rolling chassis, with the wheels and motion being successfully operated by compressed air. Many other components have been completed and are ready for fitting.

However there is much that has still be produced and fitted including cab and boiler fittings and a very visible item, the saddle tank, is still to be manufactured. The recreation of a complex steam locomotive dating from 1878, albeit a small one, has proved costly and time consuming.

Costs have been monitored throughout and projected income had been calculated showing that the target completion date of autumn 2022 was achievable. However, as 2021 was drawing to a close it became clear that with inflation of material prices, the amount of the build still outstanding and some unplanned complexities, costs were rising and funds to hand were rapidly becoming depleted.

As a result, the decision to pause has been made to allow the funds to recover and permit a speedy resumption of the work. There are a number of continuing standing orders providing support and many people have made generous contributions. The Falcon section of the website www.corris.co.uk is where individual donations can be made or cheques payable to Corris Railway can be sent to Peter Guest, 38 Underwood Close, Callow Hill, Reddich, B97 5YS.

Santa Special Steam Trains Success On The Corris Railway

Corris Railway Santa 2021

The Corris Railway ran its 2021 Santa Train services on December 11th and 12th and, despite some gloomy weather and doubts over Covid, all the seats on the trains that ran were sold. In a new departure for the Mid Wales line, seats had to be booked online and in advance and thanks to the skills of two Corris Railway Society volunteers the necessary work to arrange and manage this was done in-house.

On the ground other volunteers had once again adapted part of the carriage shed at Maespoeth Junction to house the special visitor in his red suit and welcome the parents, grandparents and children for refreshments and presents after their train journey along part of the Dulas Valley. The Railway’s shop and museum at Corris was open, giving visitors a chance to buy festive and other items including the 2022 Calendar.

It is planned to resume passenger train services on the Corris at Easter 2022, subject to developments with coronavirus variants, but before that the remodelling of the track layout at Corris station will be carried out to include a run-round loop, facilitated by a traverser. Sleepers and track fittings have been delivered, and other preparation work has already been carried out in November. The revised layout will also necessitate provision of a new platform for passengers and although volunteers will progress the work donations towards the cost will be welcomed. These can either be made via www.corris.co.uk or by cheque, payable to Corris Railway, sent to The Corris Railway, Station Yard, Corris, Machynlleth, SY20 9SH. If paying by cheque please indicate that the payment is for the work at the station.

Santa Special Steam Trains On The Corris Railway

2018 Santa Train featured image

After a Covid-enforced break in 2020 the Corris Railway will be running its annual weekend of Santa Special trains on Saturday and Sunday December 11th and 12th.

On the two days trains, which should be headed by steam engine No. 7, will leave Corris Station for a short winter’s day journey along part of the beautiful Dulas Valley to Maespoeth Junction where Santa will be making his annual visit to the line and will have presents for the children. The children will also receive a soft drink and some sweets whilst the adults will be served mince pies and mulled juice.

The Railway’s Museum and sales area at Corris Station will be open on both days between 11.00 and 16.00 giving a chance to purchase some railway related items including the 2022 calendar and, if needed, last minute Christmas cards.

In a change from previous years the Santa Trains must be pre-booked online from www.corris.co.uk Trains running on Sunday 12th are nearly full but seats remain on the Saturday services.

Passengers may also like to visit the Corris Craft Centre with its café or the Slaters Arms which is a very short walk from Corris Station.

Components Large And Small As Work Continues On “Falcon” No. 10 For The Corris Railway

After the trial fitting of the boiler to the new build Falcon 0-4-2ST being constructed for the revival of the Corris Railway, work has continued on the construction and erection of the locomotive in the workshops of Alan Keef Ltd.

One of the largest individual and most visible of the sections being worked on is the cab, a taller version of that carried by the original trio of Corris locos. After an initial trial assembly in the Nottingham workshop of a Corris Railway Society volunteer the sections were taken to Keef’s and were placed on the frames for the first time. As expected this showed some minor adjustment work would be required but overall this part of the project has gone well.

Meanwhile a Derby based CRS volunteer has been active in his workshop and is working together with the staff at Keef’s to produce components for the brake gear. More volunteer produced items in the form of the buffers have been sent from the Railway’s workshops at Maespoeth Junction to be eventually united with the rest of the new construction.

Footplate sections are in place with some pipe runs that will fit beneath them in situ and drawhook blanks have been delivered ready for machining. The regulator quadrant has been produced.

A deadline of the end of February has been set for the Corris to supply various components to Keef’s with a view to meeting the September 2022 completion date target.

These include:

  • The remaining brake parts the Corris Railway is responsible for.
  • Salter spring balances, boiler fittings, springs for the trailing truck and draw hooks, cab windows, CAD design and laser cutting files for the saddle tank. Some of the individual boiler fittings can be sponsored via www.corris.co.uk
  • In addition there are the air brake valve and mechanical lubricator and, in liaison with the Talyllyn Railway, the air pump, and injectors.

Many of the above are well on the way already but there is a lot still to do to get them over the line. This includes the absolutely crucial matter of raising the necessary finance to get No. 10 into traffic in the Dulas Valley. Apart from the specific boiler components listed at www.corris.co.uk Individual online donations can be made there or cheques payable to Corris Railway can be sent to Peter Guest, 38 Underwood Close, Callow Hill, Redditch, Worcestershire, B97 5YS. Peter can also supply forms for anyone who might wish to take out a short term regular standing order to help the locomotive towards completion.

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