2021 will mark 100 years since the Corris Railway took delivery of a then new steam engine, when number 4 was delivered from Kerr Stuart Ltd. The “Tattoo” class locomotive subsequently worked train services between Machynlleth and Aberllefenni alongside “Falcon” number 3 until the final Corris freight services were withdrawn and the line closed by British Railways in August 1948. After a period sheeted over and stored at Machynlleth the Corris engines were purchased by the Talyllyn Railway and continue to work from Tywyn to this day.
However the Corris Railway is being brought back to life and since 2005 a 21st century version of the “Tattoo” class has been steaming at the head of passenger trains between the station in Corris and Maespoeth Junction (where the Victorian locomotive shed was once home to numbers 3 and 4) and a new “Falcon” is being constructed to bring the 1878 design, with 21st century adaptations, back to working life in the Dulas Valley. Construction of the new locomotive is being carried out at the Herefordshire workshops of Alan Keef Ltd at a pace dictated by the fund-raising carried out by the Corris Railway Society’s members and donations from well-wishers.
The Corris is looking to be able to recreate the scenes of 1921 a century later with “Tattoo” number 7 and “Falcon” number 10 heading the recreations of the original coaches and waggons constructed by volunteers at Maespoeth Junction. This also offers opportunities for photo charters and possible filming work utilising the possibilities of period recreations. Albeit the locos and rolling stock of 2021 will look brighter and cleaner than was probably the case on a workaday railway serving the quarries and people in the Dulas Valley in the years following the First World War.
Writing in the latest edition of “The Corris-Pondent” quarterly magazine volunteer Andy Cooper writes: “As the costs are covered, Keef’s have the go ahead to fit the cylinders to the frames, finish the axle box slippers and fit the wheelsets to create a rolling chassis and start work on the connecting rods and associated parts. My best estimate from quotes to hand is that to finish the rods and make the pistons, valves, piston rods, valve rods, glands, crossheads, slidebars and brackets, inside motion with all the eccentric parts, rods, links, die blocks, weighshaft brackets and reverser quadrant would require a further £53,000. At that point whilst having a way to go to completion we really would have the guts of the loco done. I can’t help thinking how good it would be if 2018 were the year of the “motion” and by March 2019 all of those parts could be in place and the main mechanical workings completed. The boiler for number 10 has already been completed.”
The Corris Railway welcomes all help with trying to reach its 2021 two steam engine target. Donations can be made via the website www.corris.co.uk and clicking on The Falcon Locomotive icon or cheques, payable to the Corris Railway can be sent to Peter Guest, 38 Underwood Close, Callow Hill, Redditch, B97 5YS.