The Southern Extension

Maespoeth Bank

Would you like to see passenger trains running south of our present railhead just to the south of Maespoeth Junction? If you have travelled along the Dulas Valley, particularly on a Corris train, you will have seen how attractive the views are across the fields and river to the valley sides.

If so, you can help turn dreams into reality by donating to this appeal. There are numerous items that need to be funded, ranging from rail fixings to sleepers, fishplates to ballast; plus the Transport & Works Order needed for these works to commence. These can be sponsored by clicking on the icon below and below that you will find information about a fund-raising train albeit with an uncertain start time.

However before we can think about laying tracks we have the small matter of an embankment to rebuild before we can reach the next target of a new railhead that will double the length of our current running line. This embankment will be some 440 metres long and after some construction work that has been carried out at either end of the site work on a further section is underway. This will be 300 metres long and up to 10 metres high. In due course it will also have to include a bridge over the Nant Goedwig stream and as part of flood control in the valley it has steep sides. Construction of that sort will need to be carried out by contractors. Thanks to many generous donations in the past from supporters we currently have £100,000 in funds towards the work. However the estimated cost of “going south” is (swallows hard) £700,000. Grants are being sought but there is a long way to go and as soon as any work is carried out those accumulated funds rapidly decline.

The reason for the embankment is that although much of the former Corris trackbed is intact beside the road towards Machynlleth road improvements to the A487 have claimed the former route at the point where we need to go next.
At the end of March 2020 a major breakthrough was made when a quantity of stone was made available from a construction project in Dolgellau and was found to be suitable material for the making of gabions (metal baskets containing rocks) that were used to support the foot of the high section of embankment. Preparation work on the site was carried out by contractors who were able to work within the Covid 19 Government guidelines, and with gabions in place then the construction of the embankment began.

Construction and placement of the gabions was carried out by the contractors in May 2020 and pictures of the work can be seen in the photographs part of the News section of this website. Video clips showing work done and the size and location of the works can be found here:

The reason for the gabion wall is that the original design had 1 in 1.5 side slopes, but standards have moved on and we need to have a 1 in 2 side slope to meet modern factors of safety, but without the toe of the embankment, the gabions, intruding any further into the flood plain (to the right of the wall).

The Dolgellau material allowed work to begin on the embankment. To avoid it being classed as “waste”, it was processed it into distinct classes of material for haulage purposes (we would have to do that for engineering reasons anyway), thereby avoiding licensing and fees. The coarser stone was used to fill the gabions, and foundation layer. The finer material formed the lower part of the embankment. That got the earlier work done, simplifying the later stages.

This is Phase 4 of the overall embankment project. Phases 1 (approx. 80m long) & 2 (approx. 100m long) are complete while Phase 3 (between 2 and 4) is a Trunk Road culvert extension which will have to be undertaken by Trunk Road approved contractors, under their supervision. This will be approx. 70m long. It was anticipated that Phase 3 would have been undertaken before 4, but the availability of affordable material changed priorities.

That work consumed some £70,000, showing why donations towards the next stages of construction will be very welcome. Without funding the work cannot proceed.

The embankment is built up using layers of rock, earth and slate with drainage provision between the layers. This has to be carried out by contractors using earth moving plant and machinery.

After a hiatus, with limited material supplies only allowing for sporadic bursts of construction whilst more sources of affordable and suitable material were sought, completion of the new road bridge over the river Dyfi at Machynlleth freed up a supply which the Corris has been able to obtain. Delivery of this began in February 2024.

This section of the line will include some gradients as steep as 1 in 30 which will certainly pose a challenge to “Tattoo” steam locomotives “Tattoo” No. 7 and, “Falcon” No. 10 as they take trains up the section northwards to Maespoeth Junction.

Once the embankment and bridge work is completed the intention is to advance the rail head further southwards towards Pont Evans where a run round loop will also be constructed.

After Pont Evans the next stage will include having to cross a minor road off the A487 before continuing along the route to Esgairgeiliog station which is already in the care of the Corris revivalists. Longer term it is intended to extend along the scenic Dulas Valley at least as far as the Centre for Alternative Technology. But this is all theoretical until the new embankment is complete.

During the first quarter of 2024 progress on the new embankment south of Maespoeth Junction progressed very quickly as material, previously used as hard surfacing material to enable machinery to work on the new bridge over the river Dyfi in Machynlleth, became available. This allowed the embankment to rise by a number of metres and by the end of March the southern end of the works was close to the height of the old railway formation, as shown by its proximity to a surviving section of the old railway fence. However this work meant paying for the materials, lorry movements to bring materials to the site, and plant and operators to build the new embankment. That in turn meant that the balance in the Southern Extension Fund began to shrink as the invoices arrived.

All assistance is most welcome and we would like to thank all of our supporters as we look to extend the running line southwards along the Dulas Valley.

To make a general donation to the Southern Extension Fund please click here: 

Typical Costs  
Rail Fixings per sleeper£15.00
Sleeper (new)£20.00
Fishplates & bolts (per joint)£32.00
One tonne of stone ballast£26.00
1 complete 10 metre track length£795.00

By clicking on the “Donate” button you can really make a difference! 

If you would like to support the Extension but would like to do so without buying track components we can offer tickets for a historic special train which has yet to run and for which we have no departure time as yet. Or you can “travel” on a non-existent train and acquire some nice and unusual artwork. Intrigued? Read on….

We have tickets to sell for the first train to storm up the 1 in 30 of Maespoeth Bank, once we have rebuilt it. The maximum number of seats is 76, depending on the comparative speeds of construction for the new carriages and the Extension. They are available now at a price of £500 each which goes into building the section to run the train on. The earliest date of operation is 2022 and it could be later. There are initial thoughts of a full scale celebration including a one-off Edmondson card ticket, certificate of authenticity and a buffet in the carriage shed at Maespoeth Junction. If you would like to take part in this piece of history please send a cheque value £500 and payable to the Corris Railway to David Coleman, Brynderw, Aberlleffenni, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 9RR.

The Corris Concept Coaches

The idea behind the Corris Concept Coaches is to encourage donations by offering in return a bit of fun and some keepsake documents, nice enough to display.

Those who participate in this conceptual artwork, by travelling in imagination over the unrestored Corris Railway line, validate their participation by donating money towards the cost of extending the Railway.

Receive a numbered certificate individually signed both by the artist and our President, Christopher Awdry.

They also receive a map with a full explanation of the artwork, and a ticket to ride their virtual journey. These documents form a limited edition of 500. Of these 50 form a much more limited edition with numbered seats on the very first virtual train. Some of these 50 are already reserved for VIPs.

For standard certificates, numbers 51 – 500, the suggested minimum donation is a modest £10.00, with the expected range of donations being from £10.00 to £20.00. The amount of the donation will be recorded upon the certificate.

For the scarce and more elaborate premium certificates, donations of above £30.00 are expected.

Both types of certificates are available to non-members; this offer is being promoted and advertised elsewhere. It would be wise therefore not to delay, especially if one of the premium certificates is desired.

Corris Concept Coaches - Basic Certificate

Corris Concept Coaches - Standard Ticket

Standard Ticket

Corris Concept Coaches - Premium Ticket

Premium Ticket

4 thoughts on “The Southern Extension

  • 29th March 2018 at 10:36 pm

    The Southern extension page does not have any information about the said extension, only how to contribute to it financially.

    • 18th May 2018 at 2:38 pm

      Thanks for your feedback, further content is being added to the new website. The first installment, in relation to The Southern Extension, is Goedwig South.

  • 10th September 2023 at 1:34 am

    You need a map showing the original railway, what is currently open, and where the extension goes.


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