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Corris Railway

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Corris Railway Museum, Station Yard, Corris, MACHYNLLETH, Powys, United Kingdom. SY20 9SH.
Tel: +44 (0)1654 761303

Location:
52 39N 3 48W; UK National Grid reference: SH 755078

Built, like many of the narrow-gauge railways in North Wales, to serve the slate industry, the Corris Railway is unusual in that it is of the comparatively rare 2ft 3in gauge (see also the Talyllyn Railway). The railway operates over a distance of 1 miles between Corris and Maespoeth.

History ... Restoration ... The line today ... The Future
Days, Times and Fares ... Nearby Attractions

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History

Opened as a horse-drawn tramway between Machynlleth and Corris in 1859, steam locomotives were not introduced on the Corris Railway until some twenty years later. Passenger services commenced in 1883 (though passengers had been unofficially carried since 1874!) with horse-bus connection to communities near Talyllyn Lake and Cader Idris (the area around one of Wales's legendary peaks).
Passenger services saw the railway through a slump in the slate market during the 1880s which saw the passenger services were extended to Aberllefenni in 1887.
The twentieth century brought a change of fortune for the Corris Railway. Hailed as 'one of the most successful small railways in Wales' in 1904, two years later it was reporting its first operating loss.
Slate traffic got a boost from the re-building programme after the First World War, but increasing competition from road traffic led to a reduction in the numbers of passenger carried.
The Great Western Railway took over the line in 1930, and withdrew passenger trains in favour of bus services operated by a subsidiary of the GWR.
The Corris' fortunes continued to decline until the threat of flooding by the River Dyfi finally led to closure in 1948.

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Restoration

In the early 1950s, some of the locos and one of the Corris Railway's bogie coaches had been bought by the (then) newly formed Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society and moved to Tywyn (where they still run today).
In the mid-60s a group of Talyllyn volunteers decided to try to preserve something of the Corris route which had almost disappeared under the encroaching vegetation. The Corris Society was formed in 1966 and reached its first landmark in 1970 when the Corris Railway Museum was opened in the former railway stable.
The following year a few hundred yards of 'demonstration track' was laid adjacent to the Museum, and in 1981, the engine shed at Maespoeth was reinstated as engine shed and workshop. Approval to lay track between Corris and Maespoeth was received in 1984, and the first train for 37 years ran in 1985.
This was the start of a sustained period of planning and legal battles to obtain the necessary running powers to achieve the Society's aims of reopening the line to passengers.

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The line today

The first fare-paying passenger train for 72 yearsApproval to operate passengers  services was finally given on 15 March 2002, and the first fare-paying passenger train for seventy-two years left Corris Station on 3 June (pictured right), with regular services resuming the following Sunday.
Passenger trains are hauled (strictly speaking, propelled) by diesel loco No 6, and usually consist of four-wheel coach No 20 and bogie carriage No 21, both of which have been designed to look similar to the railway's original passenger series. Another bogie carriage, featuring a clerestory roof like two of the original vehicles, is currently under construction.
Among the locos and rolling stock on display are a Simplex four-wheel diesel mechanical locomotive No 5, named Alan Meaden after the late founder of the Corris Railway Society, and a Hunslet four-wheel diesel locomotive No.8. Five original wagons that operated on the line are in use or under restoration and form the basis of demonstration mixed trains, reminiscent of the 1920s.

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The Future

The Tattoo replica in the course of constructionAn application is being prepared for a Transport and Works Order to extend to a new southern terminus at Tan-y-Coed, bringing the total operating length of track up to 2 miles. The landowners have granted permission to clear undergrowth from the trackbed.
An on-going project is continuous research into the history of the line and the companies which operated it to provide a permanent record of the railway's place in the economy and social life of the district.
The most pressing project, however, was acquiring a steam locomotive, and to this end, members built a replica of a Kerr Stuart Tattoo class (pictured left) which used to operate the line. The ten-year project was started in 1995, and the locomotive entered service on August 20 2005.

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Railway Operating Days, Times and Fares 2014

Trains start from Corris, and passengers can alight at Maespoeth to explore the loco shed, but cannot join trains there. Carriages are fitted to enable wheelchairs to be carried.

April 18th to 21st
May 3rd to 5th; 11th; 18th; 24th to 26th; and 31st
June Every Sunday
July
Saturdays and Sundays
August 2nd to 5th; 9th to 12th; 16th to 19th; 23rd to 26th; 30th and 31st
September 6th and Sundays only
October Sundays and 25th (Diesel hauled passenger services)
December 13th and 4th

Special Events 2014
 

March 29th and 30th Training Days Weekend (Members only)
April 5th
Give it a Go Day. Do you think you could become a volunteer? Here's your chance to find out.
June 15th
  Fathers travel Free on Fathers' Day
August 2nd and 3rd Victorian Weekend. Victorian Fun and traditional games.
August 25th, 26th and 27th Victorian Weekend. Model Railway Exhibition at Y Plas, Machynlleth
December 13th and 14th Santa Specials. Presents for the children, light refreshment for the adults.

Contact the railway for times and fares on Special Event dates

Times

Trains depart Corris at 11.00am, 12 noon, 1.00pm, 2.00pm, 3.00pm and 4.00pm.
The round trip takes 50 minutes, including a guided tour of the engine shed and workshops at Maespoeth

Fares

Adults 6.00
Children (5 - 14 years of age) 3.00
Senior Citizens (Aged 60+) 5.50
Family (Two adults plus two children) 15.00
Under-fives travel free

The Railway reserves the right to amend fares for Special Events

Corris Railway Museum (all dates inclusive)
The Museum is open
between 10.30am and 5.00pm on the same days as the railway on the dates given above. Admission is free.

Present a valid Cambrian Railway single or return ticket dated within the previous week and get a 20% discount off your Corris Railway ticket.

Nearby Attractions

In Corris, there is the Corris Craft Centre and King Arthur's Labyrinth which takes the visitor on a guided tour by boat and on foot through the underground caverns of the former Braichgoch Slate Quarry.
Above ground, four miles away, the Centre of Alternative Technology is devoted to practical demonstration of renewable energy, energy conservation and recycling technology. Among its attractions is a water-powered cliff railway, and the Centre offers half-price admission to visitors arriving by cycle, or travelling to the district by train.

Select this link to access the Centre for Alternative Technology's web site.
Select this link to access the Corris Railway's official web site.

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Copyright 1996/7/8/9/2000/1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11 /12/13/14  by Deryck Lewis.  Photographs courtesy Corris Railway. All rights reserved
Page created July 30 1996. Redesigned March 29 1998. Updated March 19 2014
If you have any comments, suggestions or glitches to report, please contact the author at WalesRails