A Mid Wales steam locomotive begins its centenary year celebrations by returning to its original railway on August 28 to head a passenger train from Corris station for the first time since 1930.
Marking another landmark in the revival of Corris Railway, steam locomotive number 4, ‘Edward Thomas’, will set off from the station at 11am followed by further trips at 1pm and 3pm. Tickets must be pre-booked via www.corris.co.uk
By 1921, the railway’s original trio of steam locomotives had been working for four decades in the Dulas Valley, north of Machynlleth and were becoming time expired.
To deal with the problem, a new engine was ordered from Kerr Stuart Limited, Stoke-on-Trent whilst the best parts of the original trio were combined by Albert Hulme, the railway’s engineer, to produce a single locomotive.
This retained number 3 and the new engine became number 4, a Modified Tattoo class locomotive, a design dating from 1904. The remains of numbers 1 and 2 were scrapped, whilst 3 and 4 worked passenger, slate and general goods traffic between Machynlleth and Aberllefenni.
In 1930, the Great Western Railway took over Corris Railway and, at the end of the year, passenger traffic ceased to run. Freight continued, although services were eventually reduced to three days a week and the narrow gauge line became part of British Railways in 1948.
In August of that year, the railway was closed as the River Dyfi was threatening to breach the track bed near Machynlleth.
Corris Railway was built to the unusual gauge of 2 feet 3 inches and the pair of engines looked destined to be cut up. However, Campbell Thomas, Machynlleth stationmaster, hoped that they might find new life on the neighbouring Talyllyn Railway which shared the gauge. The locomotives were kept sheeted over and, as far as possible, out of sight.
In 1948, Talyllyn Railway was being kept alive by its owner Sir Henry Haydn Jones who unable to purchase either. However, after Sir Henry’s death, enthusiasts took over the railway and it became the world’s first heritage railway in 1951.
With only one working engine of their own, the Talyllyn Railway pioneers purchased the Corris locos from British Railways in Swindon. After overhaul by the Hunslet Company in Leeds, number 4 entered Talyllyn service in 1952 and has been a major part of train operations there since.
The loco has returned to Corris once before, in 1996, when the revival of railway had not reached a point where it could carry passengers.
Instead, on that occasion, number 4 worked demonstration freight trains which lifted the railway’s profile and was part of a successful appeal to build a new locomotive based on the Tattoo design. Number 7 began to work in the Dulas Valley in 2005.
After its first trains on the railway on August 28, number 4 will work alongside number 7 during a Gala Event that will see them operating passenger trains between Corris and Maespoeth Junction on September 4 and 5. Details of the gala and booking arrangements will appear at www.corris.co.uk .
Over the following weekend, September 11 and 12, both number 4 and number 7 will be in action on Talyllyn Railway.
Corris Railway, which is run and maintained entirely by Corris Railway Society volunteers, is a member of MWT Cymru, an independent organisation representing more than 600 tourism and hospitality business across Powys, Ceredigion and Meirionnydd region of Gwynedd.
Locomotive number 4, ‘Edward Thomas’.
January 2022 December 2021 November 2021 October 2021 September 2021 August 2021 July 2021 June 2021 May 2021 April 2021 March 2021 February 2021 January 2021 December 2020 November 2020 October 2020 September 2020 August 2020 July 2020 June 2020 April 2020 March 2020 November 2019 September 2019 August 2019 July 2019 May 2019 April 2019 March 2019 February 2019 October 2018 September 2018 August 2018 July 2018 June 2018 May 2018 April 2018 March 2018 January 2018 December 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017