The Partial Inspiration For The Arlesdale Railway
Opened in 1859 as a horse-drawn tramway, the Corris Railway converted to steam in 1878 with the introduction of three locomotives built by Hughes of Loughbrough. The Railway ran from the town of Machynlleth to the quarries in Aberllefenni, where much of the railway's traffic came from.
The Railway began the practice of carrying passengers in 1883 follwoing an act of Parliament, and in 1921, employed the extra motive power of a fourth locomotive, built by Kerr Stuart. The locomotive was of a Tattoo design, and like the others, an 0-4-2. However, the comfort and performance of the newcomer did not impress the crews of the Corris Railway.
In 1931, the Railway was bought by the Great Western who closed the Railway to passenger traffic, instead employing a bus service in the area. The Railway prospered for a few years more, this time only using locos 3 and 4.
Locos 1 and 2 from Falcon Works were scrapped prior to the buying up by the GWR, as there appeared to be little need for them. The two were completely worn out by this point, however, No.2 was used for parts to make a better engine of the remaining No.3, which remained in service alongside the Kerr Stuart, No.4
Following the nationalisation of the Railways in 1948, the Corris became the first casualty and fatality of the new grouping.
The Railway closed in August 1948 following a flooding on the River Dyfi which damaged part of the railway, and made part of the line inoperable. Had it not been for this, the railway made have stood a chance of running on. The two locomotives were sheeted and left at Machynlleth sheds with the writing on the side - Not to Be.
The locomotives, like that of their Sodor counterparts, were taken to the sanctuary of the nearby Talyllyn Railway to be put to good use again. They have remained there since 1951 and proved vital to prosperity of the railway in the early days of preservation. The Railway has now officially reopened with Christopher Awdry himself heading the association's operations, and being operated by Diesel locomotives until the time when Tattoo locomotive No.7 is completed in 2006, which is a replica of the Kerr Stuart locomotive who left in 1951 to run on the Talyllyn.