The Great Little Trains Of Wales Welcome The Corris Railway To Membership

The first train on the first weekend of passenger services in 2021

The ‘Great Little Trains of Wales’ is delighted to announce the Corris Railway will be joining as its latest new member, joining the existing eleven Welsh scenic railways in the consortium.

The railways which make up the Great Little Trains of Wales (GLTW) have in common that they travel through some of the very best scenery the British Isles has to offer and a very special way of seeing it aboard a historic narrow-gauge steam train. Each railway shares the same passion for its history and surroundings and takes pride in the charm of its old-time steam trains, polished paintwork and brass, but each railway also offers something a little quirky and different to its passengers.

The inclusion of the ‘Corris Railway’ brings the consortium to twelve (see below for full list of members) and adds further prestige to this already world-renowned brand. Amongst its members, GLTW boasts the oldest independent railway company in the world, one of Europe’s most exciting railway projects, and some of the most recognisable engines on the planet – including enthusiasts’ favourite, ‘Russell’.

GLTW Secretary, Ray Reid said:

“‘The Great Little Trains of Wales’ was started in 1970 to encourage visitors to come to Wales in general and to ride the narrow-gauge railways in particular. The addition of the Corris Railway to the existing eleven railways makes the GLTW’s Discount and Gold cards even better value and a must have for anyone intending to visit several of the railways during the year.”

The ‘Corris Railway’ is a 2’3” gauge railway, whose origins date back to the 1850’s. It was initially built to carry slate from the quarries at Corris Uchaf and Aberllefenni in the Dulas Valley. The railway ran until 1948, but preservation began in the 1960’s. Today it operates regularly with a mix of steam and diesel traction between Maespoeth and Corris Station, and has exciting plans to extend its operations.

Richard Hamilton-Foyn, Chairman of the Corris Railway added:

“When the preservation of the Corris Railway started in 1966, the pioneer volunteers had nothing but one decrepit building to work on. Since then, we have purchased land, restored the infrastructure, laid track and built a completely new train with modern recreations of the original Corris Victorian carriages and a Corris steam locomotive. As we move into the next phase of the development of the railway with a second steam locomotive, a new station in Corris and a southern extension we are delighted to have been invited to join the GLTW organisation. We are ready to contribute to the future prosperity of all of the Great Little Trains here in Wales.”

See the best for less: For just £15 buy the ‘Great Little Trains of Wales Discount Card’ which gives you a 20% discount on the price of a return journey on all 12 members’ railways (including the Corris Railway!) – which is valid for one year from the first date of use (Terms & Conditions apply). There are also discounts for ‘Great Little Trains of Wales’ Card holders with selected accommodation providers close to many member railways. Cards are available at Booking Offices and online at GLTW website: www.greatlittletrainsofwales.co.uk

Visit Great Little Trains of Wales at: www.greatlittletrainsofwales.co.uk

Extra information: The 12 GLTW member railways are:

Progress At The Corris Railway

The entry into traffic on May 30th of the latest new build carriage number 23 for the Corris Railway proved to be timely as the services on that day, and the following Bank Holiday Monday, ran virtually full with the new online tickets service working well. With Covid precautions in place, and the need to deep clean trains between workings, the Mid Wales line ran three round trips from Corris station to the current railhead on the Southern Extension. This meant that trains returning to Corris had to restart on the 1 in 30 gradient and passengers were able to enjoy the sound of steam Tattoo locomotive No. 7 tackling the gradient and the load.

With number 23 in service the carriage building team at Maespoeth Junction has begun to fit woodwork to the steel skeleton of number 24. Floorboards have been put and place and the first pieces of bodywork were added. Also being tackled in the carriage shed at the Junction was heritage waggon number 5 which will form part of demonstration freight workings in due course.

Volunteer work has also continued with components for new build Falcon locomotive 0-4-2ST. In the East Midlands the fittings for the smokebox door are complete and the door is ready for fitting when the smokebox work is completed at the workshops of Alan Keef Ltd, where work on the motion is approaching completion. Buffers for the new loco have been constructed at Maespoeth and volunteer work is underway on the brake gear. Donations for the new engine are welcome 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.

Corris Railway Resumes Passenger Services On May 30th With Online Ticketing In Place

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Provided of course that the current plans for relaxation of Covid restrictions are followed the Corris Railway resumes passenger operations for the first time since 2019 on Sunday May 30th and will also operate on May 31st.

Trains will depart from Corris station at 11.00am, 1.00pm and 3.00pm and will be deep cleaned between journeys. Sadly, Covid and distancing requirements will rule out the usual talk and conducted tour of the Maespoeth Junction workshops but trains will stop there for photography and a leg stretch. They will also run on to the current southern limit of the revived section of the line. Following the first two days of operation the trains will then run on Sundays, although the situation will be monitored as to the possibility of extra dates. It is still planned to hold a two day special event on September 4th and 5th.

It will be necessary for would be passengers to book a compartment on a train in advance and compartments will cost twenty five pounds, regardless of the number of people occupying them up to the maximum of eight adults. The occupants should also be from an approved bubble grouping, as appropriate to regulations at the time of travel, or a family. Subject to availability tickets will be available until shortly before departure times. Tickets must be booked in advance via www.corris.co.uk/tickets

The booking system was developed in-house by the Corris Railway webmaster Alf Oxford and his son Mike and no third party platform has been utilised in its setting up or will be involved in its future maintenance. This is invaluable for a small railway and society who are fortunate to have volunteers with the requisite skills in the membership, able and willing to spend many unpaid hours over the work as do engineers and others connected with the CR.

Apart from the bookings the website, www.corris.co.uk carries regularly updated news and photographs of work in progress on the railway, with the latest development being the screening of CR videos directly from YouTube, and also has an online shop facility. Alf has recently stepped down as editor of the quarterly magazine The Corris-Pondent after 25 years at the helm.

The Museum and Shop at Corris will be open but initially no refreshments will be available and payments must be made by card. In addition a one way system for visitors will apply in this area.

Latest New Build Carriage Enters Service On The Corris Railway As Work Progresses Well With New Build Steam Locomotive

The ventilator covers have been fitted to the ends of carriage No. 23.

With the latest easing of Covid 19 restrictions Corris Railway Society volunteers have been able to resume socially distanced working in the workshops at Maespoeth Junction. One of the first tasks undertaken was completion of the braking system for new build carriage 23 ahead of its planned entry into traffic at the start of the 2021 operating season.

Carriage No. 23 is the third of four new carriages being constructed for the Corris and recreates the appearance of the Victorian/Edwardian era vehicles that once carried passengers in the Dulas Valley. There are however differences to meet 21st Century safety requirements, most notably steel being used in place of wood for the framing of the bodywork. As with carriage No. 21 it has an arc roof, whilst carriage No. 22 has a clerestory. Internally passengers sit on longitudinal seats in two compartments per coach with each compartment seating up to eight adult passengers.

Construction of Carriage No. 24 is advancing in the Maespoeth Junction carriage shed. It will have a clerestory roof and will incorporate a first class observation car portion. Although construction is carried out at the Junction members of the team produce some components in their home workshops ready for final fitting.

It is planned that by the end of 2022 the Corris carriages will be headed by new build steam locomotive Falcon 0-4-2ST No. 10, providing that income from supporters can allow work to progress. At the end of April Corris Railway Society volunteers had completed work on the hinges and opening mechanism for the smokebox door and these were fitted to the door pressing. Volunteers had also begun work on the brake gear.

The main locomotive construction is being carried out at the workshops of Alan Keef Ltd near Ross-on-Wye and there the eccentrics and expansion links were among parts that had been machined and fitted to take the bottom half of the loco closer to completion and demonstration running by means of compressed air. When the inside motion is complete the plan is to make the slide block and fixings to mount the pony truck on the loco then some necessary sections of foot plate followed by a start on mounting the boiler.

Donations towards the cost of constructing locomotive No. 10 can be made via www.corris.co.uk or cheques, payable to Corris Railway, can be sent to Peter Guest, 38 Underwood Close, Callow Hill, Redditch, B97 5YS.

Statfold Engineering To Construct Traverser For Corris Station As Cab Parts Are Delivered For New Steam Locomotive

Following successful ongoing fund raising and planning there are significant landmarks with progress for two major projects in the revival of the Corris Railway.

At the end of March the decision was made that the work on the new track layout and platform at Corris station will be carried out between the end of December 2021 and the end of March 2022, the Railway’s closed season. The shortfall in funding of the traverser previously reported has been recovered thanks to generous donations and it will be constructed by Statfold Engineering before moving to the Dulas Valley where it will serve as a very distinctive part of the operations of the Railway. This will be located at the north end of the station site whilst a new point is being ordered for the southern end. Once complete the new loop will allow locomotives to run around their trains at both Corris and Maespoeth Junction. The cost of the winter work will be just short of fifty eight thousand pounds of which fourteen thousand pounds is still required to be raised.

Meanwhile cab components for new build Falcon 0-4-2ST No. 10 have been laser cut by Optimized Metal Fabrications Ltd in Rochester and delivered to a volunteer’s workshop in Nottingham. These will form the main parts of the structure and some sub structures will be temporarily bolted together so that at an appropriate time they can offered up on the loco and checked and trimmed as necessary before riveting. This trial fitting will take place at the workshops of Alan Keef Ltd where the main construction of No. 10 is proceeding as funds are raised. Also at the erection stage plans can be finalised for the bunkers inside the cab which as well as carrying coal will also have to accommodate air brake and communication parts.

Donations towards both the “Falcon” and Corris Station funds can be made online via www.corris.co.uk. Alternatively cheques can be sent to Peter Guest, 38 Underwood Close, Callow Hill, Redditch, B97 5YS for the locomotive or to Corris Railway, Station Yard, Corris, Machynlleth, SY20 9SH for the Station Fund (cheques should be payable to Corris Railway and please indicate for which purpose they are payable).

After A Year’s Absence The Corris Railway Society’s Model Railway Exhibition Is Scheduled For The End Of August

MRE 2019

After Covid-19 led to its cancellation in 2020 the Model Railway Exhibition organised by the Corris Railway Society is scheduled to return on August 28th and 29th, the Saturday and Sunday of the Bank Holiday weekend. This is, of course, subject to the degree of pandemic related restrictions then in force.

Organiser Bill Newton has been able to include a number of exhibitors who were scheduled to attend in 2020 and there will once again be a variety of layouts in different scales and filling different amounts of space in the Hall at Y Plas in Machynlleth. The largest will feature 16mm scale live steam locomotives and derives its inspiration from the world famous Darjeeling – Himalaya Railway.

At the other end of the narrow gauge modelling scales there will be two 009 layouts, one of which occupies a minimal space of four square feet. These minimum size layouts have become a feature of the Corris’ Exhibition and another visitor is a GWR layout in the ever popular OO scale which is designed to fit onto a window sill.

Two other OO layouts, one steam era and one featuring diesel locos, are due to appear whilst O gauge will be present with a layout representing the former LNWR/LMS lines in North Wales. Another part of the North/Mid Wales railway scene will be represented by an N gauge layout including a slate mine, and a further N gauge visitor will depict the North German scene.

Visitors of an older vintage will have toy shop window memories stirred by a Triang TT layout featuring the model range which was in the catalogues between 1957 and 1964. There is a further TT layout due to appear which will also feature vintage equipment from the Margate factory. And as another nod to nostalgia there will be a static display of no less than 50 model lawnmowers.

Trade wise the show will welcome back Nick and Dee Lowe selling railway ephemera and Martin Parry’s huge selection of models both new and second-hand with the majority being OO scale. Kate Packham also returns with her wide selection of jewellery and decorative items made from recycled glass (the organiser’s lady wife usually makes a bee-line for this). The Corris will have a sales stand selling new items relating to the Railway as an extension of the sales counter housed in the Museum building at Corris station where trains should be running along the Dulas Valley on the two days of the Exhibition. A new Corris stand this year will sell a variety of second hand goods, some earmarked for specific projects in the revival of the oldest narrow gauge railway in Mid Wales and some where the purchaser can nominate which part of the project they would wish the purchase price to support.

Refreshments and light snacks are sold and there is a large car park close by. Admission costs £4.00 for adults, £3.50 for seniors £2 for children and £10 for a family (2 adults and 2 children).

2021 Corris Railway Gala Moved To First Weekend Of September

2 Tattoos

With the Governmental announcements regarding plans for the easing of Covid-19 lockdowns the Corris and Talyllyn Railways have rescheduled their 100th Anniversary Gala events for Kerr Stuart locomotive No. 4 from May to September.

The Corris Railway’s Gala Weekend will move from May 8th & 9th to September 4th & 5th.

The Corris Railway had intended beginning its 2021 operations at Easter with crew training refreshers and examinations taking place in March, following no public train services between Corris and Maespoeth Junction in 2020.

However many of the Corris volunteers stay in local hotels and bed and breakfasts when working at the Railway and with Mid Wales accommodation providers not scheduled to open until Easter the training will take place in April. The Corris Railway management felt it unwise to begin the season with a weekend of intensive operation and the need to follow safe distancing in play. Public services, with pre-bookable tickets will begin in May.

The Gala Weekend will be part of the return visit of the original Corris Locomotive No. 4 “Edward Thomas” to its original line and will be the first time that it has headed passenger trains there since 1930. It will work a mixture of passenger and freight trains over the two days of the event in company with the Corris’ own No. 7, a 2005 recreation of the 1921 design. (historical information about the locomotives can be seen below).

Following the Corris Gala Nos. 4 and 7 will make the journey to Tywyn for a special birthday event on the Talyllyn Railway on September 11th and 12th. The Railways hope to be able to announce further dates when the locomotives will run before September 17th when No. 4 is due to be taken out of traffic for statutory boiler work.

Ticketing arrangements will be announced in due course and are dependent on progress with the combatting of the pandemic. Announcements will be made via www.corris.co.uk and the Corris’ Facebook page.

Historic Background Information:-

No. 4 is a Kerr Stuart “Tattoo” 0-4-2ST built for the Corris in 1921 and it worked on the Machynlleth to Aberllefenni line until it was withdrawn in 1948. Shortly afterwards the Corris Railway Line, apart from the horse worked Ratgoed Tramway, closed in August of that year. Passenger services had ceased at the end of 1930 after the Great Western had acquired the 2 foot 3 inch narrow gauge railway. Fortunately the locomotive was not reduced to scrap after withdrawal and, after being stored in the yard at Machynlleth station alongside the other extant Corris engine (Hughes 0-4-2ST No. 3 of 1878) it was purchased and moved to the Talyllyn Railway in 1951. Since 1952 it has been a mainstay of Talyllyn Railway operations.

As the revival of the Corris has progressed No. 4 has made one visit to its original haunts in 1996 but as the Corris Railway was not then passed for passenger trains it worked demonstration freight trains at the head of some surviving Corris waggons kindly provided by the Talyllyn Railway. This was part of the launch of the appeal to fund the build of a 21st Century “Tattoo” for use on the Corris. The new locomotive, No. 7, entered traffic in 2005.

Alan Keef Ltd And Corris Railway Set Completion Date For New “Falcon” Steam Locomotive

Following the ordering and cutting of the metal for the cab of the new Corris Railway “Falcon” 0-4-2ST the project has taken another step forward. Talks between the Corris and Alan Keef Ltd, as the builders of the new locomotive, took place at the end of January and as a result a target completion date has been agreed.

Alan Keef Ltd holds Open Days in late summer/early autumn every two years at its works near Ross on Wye with the proceeds going to charity. The next will be in 2022 and it will mark the firm’s 50th Anniversary since it was first established in Oxfordshire. As part of this celebration the aim is to have the newly completed “Falcon” as the centrepiece. After this it would be moved to its new home in the locomotive shed at Maespoeth Junction and subject to successfully being run in could enter traffic on the Corris before the end of the 2022 season.

When the engine is in service it will be the first time since 1930 that two steam locomotives owned by the Corris will be in service in the Dulas Valley, north of Machynlleth. It will be partnered by the 2005 built “Tattoo” 0-4-2ST No. 7 (The Corris was acquired by the GWR in 1930 and closed by British Railways in 1948).

However the crucial factor in this plan is the need to finance the construction in the remaining time and the figure required for completion is £100,000. For a small group like the Corris Railway Society this will be challenging and all support and donations will be very welcome to reach the target.

Donations for the “Falcon” can be made online via www.corris.co.uk. Alternatively cheques can be sent to Peter Guest, 38 Underwood Close, Callow Hill, Redditch, B97 5YS (cheques should be payable to Corris Railway). Peter can also supply Standing Order forms for those who are able to make regular payments which greatly help progress with the project.

Side Sheet Adaptations To Feature In Cab Construction For New Steam Locomotive As Corris Railway Seeks Traverser Funding

GF Coaling up arrangement

As progress continues with the erection of the “ bottom half” of the new build Corris Railway “Falcon” 0-4-2ST No. 10 at the workshops of Alan Keef Ltd design work of another major feature is nearly complete ahead of quotations being obtained for the cutting of the metal.

This is the cab for the locomotive which will follow the general design and appearance of that carried by No. 3 in the part of its time on the Corris but will stand taller than that in order to accommodate 21st Century footplate crews. It will have the coal bunker inside the cab, unlike the arrangement which No. 3 now has at Tywyn, and to accommodate this whilst allowing for ease of coaling at Maespoeth Junction there will be a hinged upper cab side sheet on the left hand side. Work has been done at the design stage to make this as visually unobtrusive as possible.

In addition the upper part of the cab back sheet will be removable. This will make life more comfortable for the driver and fireman on hot days and will of course allow passengers in the front compartment of a Corris carriage, with their all- round visibility, a view of the working of the engine. (The Corris Railway coaches were quite effective Victorian/Edwardian observation carriages and this is a feature of the 21st Century recreations). It will also be removable for filming purposes.

Volunteer work for the new loco also continues on the newly cast brake blocks and brake column. In another volunteer’s workshop construction of the smokebox hinges and work on the baffle plate is underway.

When the locomotive is in service it is intended that it will run around its train at the new Corris station by means of a traverser as the area does not allow provision of a headshunt. This will be an unusual and interesting feature when in action.

This will cost £8,000 and a grant towards this work had been obtained. Unfortunately the funding body has had to reduce this to £2,000 as they sought to spread their resources across other railways affected by the pandemic leaving a large shortfall for the Corris to try to fill before being able to move forward with the new track layout and platform arrangements.

Donations towards both the “Falcon” and “Corris Station” funds can be made online via www.corris.co.uk. Alternatively cheques can be sent to Peter Guest, 38 Underwood Close, Callow Hill, Redditch, B97 5YS for the locomotive or to Corris Railway, Station Yard, Corris, Machynlleth, SY20 9SH for the Station Fund (cheques should be payable to Corris Raiway and please indicate for which purpose they are payable).

For The First Time Since 1930 Corris Railway Number 4 Will Take Passengers For A Journey From Corris Station

No. 4 with waggons at Maespoeth

The Corris Railway is planning to hold its 2021 Gala over the weekend on May 8th and 9th and the undoubted highlight will be the chance to see, and travel behind, Corris Railway No. 4 working its first passenger trains between Corris Station and Maespoeth Junction since 1930.

No. 4 is a Kerr Stuart “Tattoo” 0-4-2ST built for the Corris Railway in 1921 and it worked on the Machynlleth-Aberllefenni line until it was withdrawn in 1948. Shortly afterwards the Corris Railway Line, apart from the horse worked Ratgoed Tramway, closed in August of that year. Passenger services had ceased at the end of 1930 after the Great Western had acquired the 2 foot 3 inch narrow gauge line. Fortunately the locomotive was not reduced to scrap after withdrawal and after being stored in the yard at Machynlleth Station alongside the other extant Corris engine (Hughes 0-4-2ST No. 3 of 1878) it was purchased and moved to the Talyllyn Railway in 1951. Since 1952 it has been a mainstay of Talyllyn operations.

As the revival of the Corris has progressed No. 4 has made one visit to its original haunts but as the Corris Railway was not then passed for passenger trains it worked demonstration freight trains at the head of some surviving Corris waggons kindly provided by the Talyllyn. This was part of the launch of the appeal to fund the build of a 21st Century “Tattoo” for use on the Corris Railway. The new locomotive, No. 7, entered traffic in 2005.

Further events will take place on the Talyllyn with No. 7 making its second visit to the Talyllyn where amongst other attractions it will be joined by a further “Tattoo”, “Stanhope”.

The Corris Railway did not run any passenger trains during 2020 because of Covid-19 but plans are being produced to allow at least a basic service to operate in 2021 with time to clean and sterilise trains between trips. Depending on restrictions this may begin at Easter. Further information will be circulated and will appear on the website. Ticketing arrangements are also being worked on.

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