Corris Railway expects new Falcon steam locomotive to be in operation in September

The Corris Railway hopes that its new steam locomotive, Falcon No. 10, will be steaming by September 24, although not ready for traffic.

This is when its builder, Alan Keef Ltd., holds a 50th anniversary open day at its premises in Lea near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire.

After discussions with Alan Keef and a review of the work required, if the target is to be met the railway must raise £36,000 by then, which includes a margin for cost overruns. This figure is in addition to projected revenues from existing sources.

Falcon wheels and movement are complete and moved using compressed air. The boiler was placed in the frames, the cabin erected, and the smoke box and other components were fabricated.

A major landmark as the wheels and movement of the Falcon are moved for the first time. Credit: Corris Railway.

To keep costs down while work is underway at Keefs, Corris Railway Society volunteers with engineering skills will produce various components including the saddle tank, fire pit door mechanism and ash pan. They will also finish the cabin among other works.

The components for the brake gear have already been produced by volunteers. During the work break at Keefs, they worked on safety valve components, parts of which involved cooling the valve seats in a home freezer and burning a bag of pilot lights under the dome to enlarge it. When the dome was slightly enlarged and the valve seats contracted, the assembly work was completed.

Corris Falcon 1
Credit: Corris Railway.

The components for the safety valve fitting were produced by Barr and Grovesnor of Wolverhampton, who manufactured four springs, including spares, for the safety valve assembly at a cost of £75 each.

The railway would appreciate sponsorship of these and other components through their website www.corris.co.uk. The same page can also be used to make one-time donations for September sailing costs, by check or wire transfer, details of which are available on the website.

Corris Falcon 2
Credit: Corris Railway.

Although the aim is to have the locomotive running on steam in September, further components and work will be required before the locomotive is ready to run on the revitalized section of the railway in the Dulas Valley, north of Machynlleth. But this phase requires an increase of an additional £40,000 for air pumps for braking, sanding, complete dismantling and painting, finishing of the traction device, fitting of pads and final steam testing and commissioning. However, the September Steam goal must be completed first.

If the targets are met, in 2023 two steam locomotives owned by Corris Railway will be at work in the Dulas Valley for the first time since the GWR bought the Corris in 1930.

However, it will only be for a short time as 0-4-2ST #7 Tattoo is due to undergo its next ten-year overhaul in 2024.

Jose P. Rogers