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British Industrial History

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Corris Railway

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JD Corris02.jpg

Station Yard, Corris, Machynlleth, Mid Wales, SY20 9SH.

The Corris Railway is a 2 ft 3 in gauge narrow gauge preserved railway in the Dulas Valley on the border between Merionethshire and Montgomeryshire in Wales. For most of its existence it ran from Machynlleth north to Corris and on to Aberllefenni. Branches served the slate quarries at Corris Uchaf, Aberllefenni, the isolated quarries around Ratgoed and quarries along the length of the Dulas valley. [1]

1858 The company was incorporated.

1859 The railway opened as the horse-worked Corris, Machynlleth & River Dovey Tramroad on 1st April 1859, connecting the slate quarries in the district around Corris,Corris Uchaf and Aberllefenni with wharves on the estuary of the Afon Dyfi at Derwenlas and Morben, south-west of Machynlleth.

By 1864 an Act of Parliament was passed changing the name to the Corris Railway Company and permitting the use of locomotives on the line. It appears that around this time the line was under the control of Thomas Savin, the contractor who built the standard gauge lines in the area. The line between Machynlleth and Derwenlas was abandoned following the arrival of the standard gauge Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway (later the Cambrian Railways).

In 1878 the Corris Railway Company was bought by the Imperial Tramways Company of London who first introduced passenger carriages and then, in 1879, steam locomotives. Although the carriages arrived in 1878 it was not until 1883 that the Act of Parliament was secured to allow the formal commencement of passenger services. A semi-official passenger service had been running since the early 1870's using open wagons to convey quarry workers and visitors.

The initial passenger service ran from Machynlleth to Corris, but was extended to the line's northern terminus at Aberllefenni in 1887.

In 1892 control of Imperial Tramways moved to Bristol, and in the 1900s Bristol buses were sent to run the railway's feeder services.

1908 The line was 11 miles in length. [2]

The line continued on through the decades, serving the quarries around Corris and Aberllefenni. As well as slate and passengers, the line hauled timber extracted from the Dyfi forest in the 1910s through 1930s. There was also a constant traffic in coal and general goods to the quarries and communities served by the railway.

After World War I, slate traffic began a slow, steady decline as cheaper foreign slate and alternative roofing materials became popular. The railway went into a similar slow decline.

In 1930 it was purchased by the Great Western Railway (who by that time were the owners of the main line serving Machynlleth) and the passenger service was withdrawn in 1931.

In 1948 the line was nationalised along with its parent company as part of British Railways. Serious erosion to the railway formation caused by the Afon Dyfi led to closure later that year, the last train running on 20th August 1948.

The two remaining locomotives and several goods wagons were purchased in 1951 by the newly preserved Talyllyn Railway which shares the unusual 2 ft 3 in (686 mm) gauge. This stock is still in operation just over the mountain at Tywyn.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] Wikipedia
  2. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908