The Falcon Locomotive

Thank you for your interest in the project to bring our next steam engine to the Dulas Valley. Below you will find a history of the project to date but before reading further we would like to draw your attention to an upcoming anniversary. In 1921 the Corris Railway took delivery of steam locomotive number 4, a Kerr Stuart “Tattoo” class. Our number 7 is a 21st century recreation of the “Tattoo”s. From 1921 to the closure of the Corris in 1948 trains were worked by “Falcon” number 3 and number 4. We would love to be able to recreate those days of a century ago by completing number 10 to work beside number 7. Your support to bring this closer will be much appreciated.

The Corris will have a sales and information stand at the Rodington Model Railway Show near Shrewsbury (SY4 4QS) on November 3rd and will be at the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition on November 24th and 25th.

Reasons for having a second locomotive
Back in 2006 discussion centred around the idea of having another locomotive on the Corris Railway. A second locomotive would take pressure off the `Tattoo’ when maintenance and repair work became necessary, especially important when it came to the 10 year overhauls of the Tattoo. Additionally, by having a second locomotive, the work involved in operating the railway could be shared.

What sort of locomotive would we have?
To build another Tattoo might be considered sensible because the design had been accepted by HMRI, but the opportunity to build a locomotive which would closely resemble the original Corris No.3, a Falcon, although fraught with difficulties, was an opportunity not to be missed. To have an appropriately modernised replica of a Falcon would be an advantage to give the railway variety in motive power. Our photo charter friends would love it, the visual display would be more satisfying than two identical twins and it would improve the profile of the railway as a national tourist attraction.
After a poll of the CRS members the decision was taken in the spring of 2007 to build a replica of No 3.

Lack of plans for No 3
The builder of Corris locomotives 1, 2 & 3 delivered in November 1878, was the Hughes’ Locomotive & Tramway Engine Works, Loughborough. It eventually became the Brush Electrical Machines Ltd, Falcon Works, Loughborough and still exists today. The researcher George Toms assured the Society that no plans exist of the locomotive. To obtain drawings the extant locomotive at the Talyllyn Railway had to be surveyed (with permission).

Appointment of design & build consultants
Reluctantly our Tattoo Locomotive consultant, Colin Blackwell, had decided for family reasons to take a back seat with regard to the Falcon Project. Fortunately Graham Morris, our boiler inspector, agreed to take responsibility for the project along with a colleague of his, David Potter. In August 2008 they began work on producing drawings by visiting the museum at Corris and then travelling on to Pendre, Tywyn to meet David Scotson (Chief Mechanical Engineer) and John Bate (former Chief Engineer) of the Talyllyn Railway. So began the complicated task of surveying the locomotive and producing drawings. This lasted for nine months and in September 2009 the drawings were complete at a cost of £26,000.

Society members were encouraged to make a gift aided one-off donation or donations by standing order and by November 2008 the fund had reached £22,000. Nineteen members had taken out standing orders and more have joined subsequently. Since then members have been encouraged to sponsor parts of the loco and an updated list of parts is included below including some that can be sponsored retrospectively.

Manufacture of the Locomotive
The decision was taken in 2009 to make the boiler the first item to be built and our two consultants obtained a suitable quote (one of several) from Israel Newton, a 200 year old firm of boiler-makers in Bradford, for £31,250.00 plus VAT. Click here to see this being reported in the Bradford Telegraph and Argus.

Progress to date
The boiler was completed by Israel Newton and was brought to Maespoeth in the late summer of 2012. A good number of other smaller components were also produced. Once the boiler was received the next move was the cutting of the main frame plates for the locomotive which was done using the water jet method to produce the outside profiles and also all holes needed for bolts and rivets. The frame plates, were taken to the workshops of Alan Keef Ltd in Herefordshire for erection.

The driving wheels on the Corris “Falcons” as built in 1878 are unusual for a small narrow gauge tank engine by being larger than the norm at 30” diameter and being solid with spokes cast on (rather reminiscent to the onlooker of the original Tri-ang model railway locomotives of the 1950’s). By way of contrast the wheels on the trailing pony truck which converted the original 0-4-0ST’s to 0-4-2ST’s with a view to making the original trio of engines ride more steadily were very small with a 10” diameter, but Number 10 will have slightly larger ones of 12” diameter. The wheel centre castings for the driving wheels were produced and drilled ready to accept axles and crank pins at Keef’s workshops. Steel tyres were produced in South Africa and were fitted to the driving wheels in November 2017.

The axleboxes and bearings have been produced and fitted to the frames and two volunteers with engineering skills had completed the pony truck at the start of February 2018.. Cylinders were cast in Wolverhampton during 2017. They were machined in May 2018 which took the project closer to the “rolling chassis” stage. A generous individual donation paid for the casting and machining of the cylinders, plus production of the cylinder covers After this the motion parts will need to be manufactured and fitted in the narrow area between the frames and a further individual donation is helping towards production of the connecting rods. It is estimated that the manufacture and erection of coupling rods and the motion is costing £53,000. Once the motion, including the gear in the narrow area between the frame plates the frames area can be united with the boiler after the smokebox has been constructed. Steam engines, even small ones like number 10, are expensive items to build and once these stages of the construction have taken place it will take expenditure to date to over £200,000. Another £50,000 to £70,000 will be needed to complete the construction and the time taken until the engine leaves the Alan Keef workshops and commences work in the Dulas Valley will be determined by the rate of fund raising. As at the end of September 2018 the driving wheels were in the frames and the trailing truck wheels machined along with their axle ready to join the pony truck. Further components that had been produced and were at Alan Keef’s were as follows:-

2 x Coupling rods: 4 x Coupling rod bushes; 4 x Coupling rod oil pot covers
2 x Connecting rods; 2 x Split big-end bearings c/w oil pot lid and tube
2 x Big-end cap plates; 2 x Big-end spacers; 2 x Little-end bushes
2 x Valve spindle guides; 2 x Valve spindles (await final machining upon assembly)
2 x Valve drive rod (part machined)’ 2 x RH/LH valve adjusters
2 x RH Lock nuts; 2 x LH Lock nuts; 2 x Valve spindle glands
2 x Piston rod glands; 4 x Slide bars; 4 x Slide bar mounting angles
8 x Slide bar fitted bolts

In addition to the components above, Keef’s had finish machined the axleboxes, fitted the bronze wear plates and fitted them to their respective hornguides. That had allowed the wheelsets to be finish fitted and dropped into the frames. They have also set up a datum wire line for the centreline to set up the alignment of the cylinders and wheelsets. The expansion links and die blocks were being manufactured by a wire-erosion sub-contractor.

The above steps come to a total cost of £29,315.00 plus VAT. The axlebox completion and wheelset fitting was previously offered at £5,500 and the coupling and connecting rods at £12,000.

Number 10 will be a recreation of the original Corris Railway tank engines which were constructed in Loughborough in the nineteenth century and one of which continues to work to this day as Talyllyn Railway number 3 “Sir Haydn”. They started life as 0-4-0 Saddle tanks but were converted to an 0-4-2 wheel arrangement to improve riding on the sharp curvature that was a feature of the 2 foot 3 inch gauge line in the Dulas Valley north of Machynlleth. Once completed it will work trains in Dyffryn Dulas alongside the Corris’ first “new build” steam engine number 7 which was completed in 2005 and was overhauled in the Corris’ loco shed at Maespoeth Junction during the winter of 2014-15 with further work carried out at the Statfold Barn Railway at the start of 2017.

Your support would be very welcome if you feel able to click in the donations icon for one of the individual components listed below. Some of these are for parts that have already been manufactured but donors will be able to specifically identify “their” contribution and the money raised will take the project forward. But we do value ALL donations, small or large, so if you would like to help please go back to the main page of the site and click on the appropriate icon there. Thank you in anticipation of the day when the sound of a “Falcon” 0-4-2 saddle tank can be heard again in Dyffryn Dulas.

Donations paid by cheque towards the construction of number 10 can be posted to 38 Underwood Close, Callow Hill, Redditch, B97 5YS. Cheques or postal orders payable to Corris Railway.

There are some sales items available from our web shop that specifically contribute towards the fund raising for number 10. These include an enamel badge featuring the loco surrounded by the Corris Railway garter and the poster and postcards from the painting by Steve Butts.


If you would like to make a general donation to the Falcon Locomotive Appeal Fund by credit card or PayPal then please click on this button.

Various parts of the locomotive are already being fabricated and the initial set of parts for which sponsorship is being sought are as follows:

Falcon Motion AssemblyThe Falcon motion assembly. Drawing courtesy of Alan Keef Limited.

ItemCost (each)Quantity in total 
Erection of the motion£20.00 donation towards the final cost
Erection of the motionYou specify the donation that you would like to make towards the final cost
(All frame plate parts were supplied with all holes and shaping cut out by the waterjet method)
Frame plate L/H£962.001
Frame plate R/H£962.001
Front buffer beam£250.001
Rear buffer beam£255.001
Frame stiffening plate£175.001 of 2
Frame stiffening plate£175.002 of 2
Beam angle£105.001 of 2
Beam angle£105.002 of 2
Cost of delivery all frame plate parts from Chesterfield to Ross-on-Wye£190.001
Cast frame stay parts and assembly
Leading frame stay£100.001
Intermediate frame stay pattern£100.001
Trailing frame stay pattern£150.001
Frame stretcher pattern£75.001
Leading frame stay casting£235.001
Intermediate frame stay casting£180.001
Trailing frame stay casting£230.001
Frame stretcher casting£95.001
Cost of machining leading frame stay£560.001
Cost of machining intermediate frame stay£900.001
Cost of machining trailing frame stay£400.001
Cost of 10 rivets for assembly of frames£30.001 of 4
Cost of 10 rivets for assembly of frames£30.002 of 4
Cost of 10 rivets for assembly of frames£30.003 of 4
Cost of 10 rivets for assembly of frames£30.004 of 4
Cost of 20 rivets for assembly of frames£60.001 of 3
Cost of 20 rivets for assembly of frames£60.002 of 3
Cost of 20 rivets for assembly of frames£60.003 of 3
Cost of fully assembling and hot riveting the frames and all associated parts, angles and support brackets£6,280.001
Horn blocks and keep plates
Cost of machining, drilling and reaming a horn block£510.001 of 4
Cost of machining, drilling and reaming a horn block£510.002 of 4
Cost of machining, drilling and reaming a horn block£510.003 of 4
Cost of machining, drilling and reaming a horn block£510.004 of 4
Cost of an axlebox spring plate£60.001 of 4
Cost of an axlebox spring plate£60.002 of 4
Cost of an axlebox spring plate£60.003 of 4
Cost of an axlebox spring plate£60.004 of 4
Cost of bolts, washers and binx locking nuts for a horn block and keep plate£42.001 of 4
Cost of bolts, washers and binx locking nuts for a horn block and keep plate£42.002 of 4
Cost of bolts, washers and binx locking nuts for a horn block and keep plate£42.003 of 4
Cost of bolts, washers and binx locking nuts for a horn block and keep plate£42.004 of 4
Cost of machining axlebox casting, axlebox keep, brass bearing and to supply new bronze slipper plates£2,280.001 of 4
Cost of machining axlebox casting, axlebox keep, brass bearing and to supply new bronze slipper plates£2,280.002 of 4
Cost of machining axlebox casting, axlebox keep, brass bearing and to supply new bronze slipper plates£2,280.003 of 4
Cost of machining axlebox casting, axlebox keep, brass bearing and to supply new bronze slipper plates£2,280.004 of 4
Firebar castings£40.001 of 11
Firebar castings£40.002 of 11
Firebar castings£40.003 of 11
Firebar castings£40.004 of 11
Firebar castings£40.005 of 11
Firebar castings£40.006 of 11
Firebar castings£40.007 of 11
Firebar castings£40.008 of 11
Firebar castings£40.009 of 11
Firebar castings£40.0010 of 11
Firebar castings£40.0011 of 11
Parts for the pony truck which is being made by Corris members
Top bridle profiled plates£95.001
Bottom bridle profiled plate£80.001
Profiled plates and bar for side control brackets£55.001
Cast channels£45.001 of 2
Cast channels£45.002 of 2
Axle block casting£95.001 of 2
Axle block casting£95.002 of 2
Wheel machined out of steel billet£345.001 of 2
Wheels machined out of steel billet£345.002 of 2
Axle turned and ground£532.001
Bearing£52.001 of 4
Bearing£52.002 of 4
Bearing£52.003 of 4
Bearing£52.004 of 4
Driving wheel axleboxes and associated parts
Driving wheel axle box springs£34.001 of 16
Driving wheel axle box springs£34.002 of 16
Driving wheel axle box springs£34.003 of 16
Driving wheel axle box springs£34.004 of 16
Driving wheel axle box springs£34.005 of 16
Driving wheel axle box springs£34.006 of 16
Driving wheel axle box springs£34.007 of 16
Driving wheel axle box springs£34.008 of 16
Driving wheel axle box springs£34.009 of 16
Driving wheel axle box springs£34.0010 of 16
Driving wheel axle box springs£34.0011 of 16
Driving wheel axle box springs£34.0012 of 16
Driving wheel axle box springs£34.0013 of 16
Driving wheel axle box springs£34.0014 of 16
Driving wheel axle box springs£34.0015 of 16
Driving wheel axle box springs£34.0016 of 16
Buffer parts (Being made at Maespoeth)
Cast iron buffer socket£98.001 of 4
Cast iron buffer socket£98.002 of 4
Cast iron buffer socket£98.003 of 4
Cast iron buffer socket£98.004 of 4
Buffer spring£32.001 of 4
Buffer spring£32.002 of 4
Buffer spring£32.003 of 4
Buffer spring£32.004 of 4

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