An Update On The Planned Southern Extension Of The Corris Railway

The current rail-head

In the latest edition of the Corris Railway Society’s magazine “The Corris-Pondent”, Chairman Richard Hamilton-Foyn set out information about the current position regarding the planned extension of the operating railway.

Currently, the main running line terminates just south of Maespoeth Junction on a stiffly graded section of the original trackbed. Beyond this however, the next section of the former route has been lost beneath the A487 Machynlleth-Dolgellau road and the Corris is faced with the task of building a tall section of embankment and a bridge over the River Goedwig. To further complicate matters, flood prevention requirements in the Dulas Valley mean that the embankment will need to have steeper sides than would otherwise be the case. Although the Corris would love to recreate the spirit of the “deviationist” era of the Ffestiniog, much of the civil engineering will have to involve the work of contractors.

Before any work can begin, various permissions and agreements from a number of national and local authorities need to be secured, be in place and valid simultaneously. Much of the hard work is being carried out to achieve this and the Corris is aware that once this stage is reached construction will have to begin quickly. Richard describes this as a “tipping point”, both figuratively and literally, for the future of the line and makes it clear that, thanks to very generous support to date, there is a six figure sum in a dedicated fund for the Extension. Much more will need to be raised and spent to double the current length of the running line. Current political and financial matters make the seeking of grants towards the work an uncertain process but the Corris remains committed to continuing the revival of the oldest narrow gauge railway in Mid-Wales.

Corris Railway Society Model Railway Exhibition – August 25th & 26th 2018

Model Railway Layout

Appropriately enough the Corris Railway Society’s Model Railway Exhibition will feature narrow gauge layouts when it takes place at Y Plas in Machynlleth on August 25th and 26th. Representing the most popular narrow gauge 009 scale will be “World’s End” and “Hensbarrow Road”, whilst the light-hearted “Bumf Mine” is built to 7 mm standards. “Walmer Bridge” flies the flag for the 16 mm scale and demonstrates that smaller area layouts are possible in this “garden scale”.

0 gauge features on four layouts. “The Depot” and “Clough Street Sidings” portray the dieselised railway of today whilst nostalgia for days and toys gone by will be stirred by a visiting selection of Hornby clockwork and electric trains and a layout featuring the 1960’s Tri-ang “Big – Big Train” range.

More Tri-ang nostalgia from half a century ago will be represented by a TT gauge layout and there will be a trio of layouts in N, depicting a North German scene and two with a Welsh theme, “Taste of Amlwch” and “Dora Slate Incline”.

The most popular 4mm scale is represented by three very contrasting exhibits. “Westgate MPD” is based on the one time locoshed at Chester Northgate. An “Underground Ernie” layout features trains from the television series and children are invited to “drive” them. And there will a layout designed to fit into minimum space – in this case a window cill.

Sales stands include a return of the jewellery and decorative items from “Kate’s Glass”, railwayana, new and pre-owned model railway equipment, and of course fund raisers for the revival of the Corris Railway including the construction of the new “Falcon” steam locomotive and a Corris Railway Sales Stand.

Trains will be running from Corris station on the re-opened section of the Railway on Saturday 25th, Sunday 26th, Monday 27th and Tuesday 28th August.

Corris Railway Gala Day – May 27th 2018

Locos parade at Maepsoeth Junction

The Corris Railway held its now traditional Gala Day on Sunday May 27th and the volunteers were pleased to welcome a good mixture of families and other holiday makers looking for a day out amidst the regular heavy downpours in the Dulas Valley, and railway enthusiasts visiting to see the Railway in action. There were also opportunities to learn of how the revival of the line is progressing and of plans for the future.

Unfortunately the ongoing maintenance work in the museum at Corris meant that this was not open to the public but the ticket office and sales counter were busy as was the Signal and Telegraph Office at Maespoeth Junction which had been pressed into service for the sale of home-made cakes and other refreshments. Those proved very popular. The locomotives in action included steam engine number 7, diesel number 11 which has Transylvanian connections and the battery powered number 9 which once shunted at slate works in Aberllefenni. Another diesel locomotive, number 6, was back in action after a heavy overhaul.

The Corris Railway will be running trains on Sundays in June including Father’s Day on the 17th when any dad accompanied by a child aged under 15 will enjoy a free ride and receive a small gift.

Corris Railway targets 2021 as “Falcon” & “Tattoo” together again in the Dulas Valley

7 and 3 at Maespoeth

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.

Corris Railway Spring Gala Timetable on Sunday May 27th 2018

The Corris Railway to host Spring Gala on Sunday May 27th 2018 with a variety of trains in action between Corris Station and Maespoeth Junction.

Train Number1357911 15171921 252729
Loco(s)6 Top,
11 Tail
7116711761176117
Carriages21, 2221, 2220, Van21, 2221, 2221, 2221, 2220, Van21, 2221, 22
Waggons2 Gravity
Waggons
Vans2 Gravity
Waggons, Van
Vans
Maespoeth D0930
SP
1035
SP
1114
NP
1146
SP
1218
NP
1230
SP
1320
SP
1408
NP
1445
SP
1515
NP
1605
SP
16401715
SP
End of Line A123413241719
End of Line D124613381726
Corris A0950104511241156122813001352141814551525161516501740
Train Number24681012141618202224262830
Loco(s)11671167117611767, 11
Carriages21, 2221, 2220, Van21, 2221, 2221, 2221, 2220, Van21, 2221, 22
WaggonsVans2 Gravity
Waggons
Van2 Gravity
Waggons
Vans
Corris D101010501132120412341308132513551426150015331550162317001750
Maespoeth A1020
SP
1102
SP
1142
NP
1214
SP
1244
SP
1318
SP
1335
SP
1405
SP
1436
NP
1510
SP
1543
NP
1600
(Loop)
1633
SP
1710
NP
1800
SP
NOTE TO INTENDING VISITORS: Trains highlighted in grey do not accommodate passengers

We try to ensure that steam trains run as advertised. The Corris Railway may have to cancel, alter or suspend the published timetable with or without notice, or to use a diesel locomotive in the unlikely event of a breakdown or crew shortage. It accepts no liability for any loss, inconvenience, disappointment or delay caused by this.

Roof repairs secure future of historic railway building in Corris

Corris Museum taken on 29th April 2018

Extensive roof repairs have secured the future of an historic railway building in Corris. Carried out by local contractor Brian Roberts the work has been completed on the Victorian structure which once housed the stables (for seven horses), the road coach house, harness room and parcels office of the Corris Railway. The coach house was added to the building around 1900 when the Corris Railway began running horse buses to Talyllyn Lake for tourist traffic.

The original Corris Railway line was closed by British Railways in August 1948 but the Stable and Coach House building was partially acquired by the Corris Railway Society in 1969 who achieved sole possession in 1974. Various partial repairs and maintenance jobs have been carried out over the intervening decades but the recent works, whose timescale included the “Beast from the East” and the wet weather of March, has been a comprehensive re-roofing that will secure the building for the long-term future.

Today the building houses the Corris Railway Museum, plus a sales counter which also sells train tickets and light refreshments. It is open on days when the Corris Railway is operating trains along the revived section of the narrow gauge railway between Corris station and Maespoeth Junction. The next operating days are May 5th, 6th and 7th.

Corris Railway to host Spring Gala on Sunday May 27th 2018

The Corris Railway will hold its third Spring Gala Day on Sunday May 27th with a variety of trains in action between Corris station and Maespoeth Junction.

Passenger and van train services will be handled by “Tattoo” steam locomotive number 7, Ruston Hornsby diesel number 6 and Orenstein and Koppel diesel number 11. The first locomotive to work during the revival of the Corris, Simplex number 5 “Alan Meaden” will head some demonstration works trains and Clayton battery electric number 9 “Aberllefenni” which once worked at the quarry is planned to be found in its usual role of carriage shed shunter at Maespoeth Junction. Visitors will be able see components for steam locomotive number 10 (currently under construction at the workshops of Alan Keef Ltd in Herefordshire as fund raising permits) at Maespoeth Junction. Beyond Maespoeth Junction the extended section of track, the first step on the southern extension of the line, will be in use giving passengers some chances to ride on this part of the Corris. Some steam – hauled passenger trains will start their return journeys to Corris on this section giving travellers a chance to hear number 7 getting to grips with a train on the gradient.

There will also be demonstration gravity trains but travel in these is limited to members of the Corris Railway Society.

The Railway’s Shop will be open at Corris station during the day and light refreshments will be available. Parking is only available at Corris station where all journeys will start and finish.

More information is available in the Corris Railway Spring Gala Timetable on Sunday May 27th 2018.

Museum roof repairs at Corris Station and pony truck progress for new steam locomotive

The Corris Railway Society has been in possession of the former Railway stable block and coach house in the village of Corris for nearly half a century and today it houses a museum, shop and café which opens its doors on days when trains are operating on the revived section of the Railway. It is one of a trio of original C.R. buildings in the care of the volunteer workforce, the others being the locomotive shed at Maespoeth Junction and Esgairgeiliog station (which is awaiting the return of trains to its platform).

The museum building has needed considerable adaptation, renovation and maintenance since the 1970’s and at the end of February this year contractors were arriving on site to carry out repairs to the roof to keep the Victorian era building weather tight well into the 21st century. It is planned to have the shop open in time for the running of the first trains of the season on Good Friday (March 30th) but opening of the museum area will depend on  completion of the roof repairs in time and the replacement of the exhibits from storage.

Away from Corris and the Dulas valley progress continues on construction work for the next steam engine to work on the Railway. Two Society members with engineering skills have been manufacturing the trailing pony truck in their workshops and quotations for the manufacture of its wheels and axle are being sought. Sponsorship of the pony truck components can be made via the website www.corris.co.uk

Winter work on the Corris Railway

After running its annual Santa Special trains in the snows of mid-December the Corris Railway’s volunteers have continued with maintenance and building work ahead of the resumption of passenger trains over Easter weekend 2018. Ruston Hornsby diesel locomotive number 6 (works number 518493) is having its wheels and transmission worked on. Since arriving at the Corris in 1996 and after re- gauging from 2’ 6” to the Corris’ 2’ 3” it has been a stalwart of the operational fleet, working passenger trains until the arrival of “Tattoo” 0-4-2ST number 7 and deputising for the steam engine on occasion since, as well as heading many works trains. An area of concern is the wheels where it is hoped that there will be enough metal to allow re-profiling by the Vale of Rheidol workshops. Should new tyres be required there is likely to be considerable delay in getting number 6 back into traffic and more reliance will have to be made on diesel number 11.

Construction of two new bogie carriages continues inside the workshops at Maespoeth Jnc. Cedar roof boards have been fitted to number 23 and coated with sealant and the outer panels are completed with beading added. Internally the lower panels under the seats are in place. The bogies for number 23 have been completed and painted. Work is also continuing on clerestory carriage number 24.

Outside in the Dulas Valley tree clearance work has been carried out by contractors on part of the planned Southern Extension route at Pont Evans, adjacent to the A487 trunk road. Track maintenance work days on the existing running line are planned for February 10th and March 10th. More volunteers for this, and all other areas of the revival of the Corris, will be welcome and anyone interested in joining the unpaid workforce is invited to contact Patrick Jolley on 01654 702954.

Away from the Railway construction work on the new steam engine number 10 has been helped by some further components being sponsored via the website and a large individual donation.

And looking ahead the Corris will be holding a Gala Day on May 27th and its annual Model Railway Show at Y Plas, Machynlleth, on August 25th and 26th.

December snows lead to a mince pie glut in Rhyl after Corris Railway Santa Train operations

No.7 waits for its train at Maespoeth.
No.7 waits for its train at Maespoeth.

The second day of the 2017 Santa Train operations on the Corris Railway took place in the heavy snowfall that swept across Mid and North Wales on Sunday December 10th. The Saturday trains had been busy, despite the cold weather in the Dulas Valley, but the Sunday brought a snowfall that became intense and left the steam trains finding their way along a pair of rails projecting from a white blanket. Passengers were not plentiful but the Corris volunteers worked through the conditions to make sure that those who did arrive had an enjoyable day out in the Christmas Card surroundings.

However not every volunteer could get through and the event organisers Bill and Christine Newton had to remain at home in Rhyl. Fortunately they had already taken presents and other essentials to Corris ahead of the Santa Season, apart from one ingredient. The Newton family larder was housing some 200 mince pies, which should see them a good way into the New Year before supplies run out. Or Santa may have found more than one beside the glass of sherry on the hearth.