The new Corris Railway Falcon steam locomotive runs in public for the first time

Last Saturday, September 24, the project under construction Falcona new steam locomotive 0-4-2ST for the Corris Railway, achieved a milestone when it was first publicly steamed at the workshops of its builder, Alan Keef Ltd at Lea near Ross-on-Wye, during the annual open day.

New Falcon is a 21st century recreation of a design dating back to 1878. It is hoped that it will soon enter service on the revived section of the Corris Railway which currently links Corris and Maespoeth Junction in the Dulas Valley north of Machynlleth.

Early last week the locomotive was steam heated for the first time in the Keef workshops and on Tuesday 20th September it passed its official steam test and received its boiler certificate.

In the weeks before the steaming, work had progressed rapidly, completing work on and inside the smokebox and installing the ash pan after the boiler had been temporarily removed from the frames for its hydraulic test.

The profile of falcon the cabin is based on the one formerly worn by the original Falcon locomotive on the Corris. It was completed after the boiler was tested and received its certification.

Although the locomotive has been steamed, there is still work to be done before it can go into service. Exceptional works include installation of buffers and couplings, installation of air brake pump, riveting of cab, construction of internal coal bunker, boiler lining, installation of wheel splash and sanding gear fabrication and assembly.

The locomotive will then have to be dismantled so that it can be painted and then reassembled again.

Getting to this stage will require further fundraising, which the Corris will be grateful for. Donations can be made online via

Other exhibits at Alan Keef’s open house included three narrow gauge locomotives, woto, Drawnand Peter Pan, steam powered and which transported visitors on a short train journey in newly restored carriages that once ran on the now defunct Dalmunzie Estate Railway in Scotland. Also present was a steam roller Trotter of Coleford, while an exhibition traced the history of Keef over the past half-century, and visitors could view Keef’s ongoing projects, including work for the Isle of Man Railway and of Talyllyn.

Jose P. Rogers