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Britain’s newest steam locomotive prepares to enter service in Mid Wales

BRITAIN’S newest steam locomotive will haul its first passenger trains on a narrow gauge railway in Mid Wales on September 9 and 10.

Built at the workshops of Alan Keef Ltd near Ross-on-Wye, locomotive number 10, named Falcon, is the pride and joy of Corris Railway near Machynlleth and cost nearly £400,000.

A 21st century version of a trio of engines delivered to Corris Railway from the Henry Hughes company of Loughborough in 1878, the locomotive has been run in during the training of volunteer drivers and firemen.

Although a small steam engine – it would sit comfortably inside the tender of Flying Scotsman – it has taken over a decade complete due to its complicated design.

Nearly 500 donors, both Corris Railway Society (CRS) members and other well-wishers, contributed to fundraising for No 10, together with raffles and sales of donated books and other goods.

Some components for the new loco were made by CRS members with engineering skills, while others were manufactured commercially in Bradford, Kent and the East and West Midlands.

CRS volunteers also constructed the Victorian styled passenger carriages that Falcon will haul on its journeys. Neighbouring Talyllyn Railway, which shares the same unusual track gauge of two feet and three inches as the Corris, also helped with the project.

Following the launch weekend, the new locomotive will work on Saturdays and Sundays in September and then every Saturday until October 21.

Trains will leave Corris station for the journey along part of the Dulas Valley to Maespoeth Junction at 11am, 12 noon, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm. Tickets can be booked in advance from www.corris.co.uk where more information about the revival of the railway can be seen.

Corris Railway, which was closed by British Railways in 1948, is a member of the Great Little Trains of Wales and MWT Cymru, an independent organisation that represents 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and Southern Snowdonia.

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Picture caption: Corris Railway’s new Falcon locomotive in steam.