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The Corris Railway (Hardback)

The Story of a Mid-Wales Slate Railway

Transport Photographic Books Colour Books Wales

By Peter Johnson
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Series: Narrow Gauge Railways
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 200
ISBN: 9781526717535
Published: 6th November 2019



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One of Wales’ oldest narrow gauge railways, the 2ft 3in gauge Corris Railway was built to carry slate from several quarries in the Dulas valley to wharves on the river Dyfi. At first forbidden to use steam locomotives or to carry passengers, it overcame these obstacles and became an essential part of the community that it served.

It was also a forerunner in encouraging tourists, offering inclusive tours to nearby Talyllyn, passengers travelling on the train and on railway-operated road services.

Taken over by the Great Western Railway in 1930, the railway was closed by British Railways in 1948, apparently for good. Fortunately, the last two steam locomotives and some rolling stock was saved by the nearby Talyllyn Railway, where it played an essential role in that railway’s preservation. Eventually, the thoughts of enthusiasts turned to reviving the Corris Railway, and, after many twists and turns, the first passengers were carried on a short section in 2002.

Historian Peter Johnson has delved into many sources to uncover the intricacies of the railway’s origins, its development, operation and revival.

This book presents a well-researched and detailed account of the day-to-day working of a minor railway of a type long since consigned to history.

Industrial Railway Society - reviewed by Martin Shill

A very interesting book and an impressive image archive.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

This book presents a well-researched and detailed account of the day-to-day working of a minor railway of a type long since consigned to history.

Bulletin No.1045 – March 2020 - reviewed by Martin Shill

Overall, this is an excellent addition to the Corris Railway bibliography, and achieves its objective of revealing much detailed information not previously known.

Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, No 248, Spring 2020

Readable and well illustrated this is more recommended, if not essential reading on the Welsh narrow gauge.

Llanfair Railway Journal, No 234, January 2020

An interesting look at this charming byway.

Railway Modeller, April 2020

"The book is a fascinating, in-depth study of the Corris Railway, taking the reader from the horse era of the 1850s right up to date with the Corris Railway Society's most recent achievements and future aspirations."

Reviewed by

6024 Preservation Society

This is a great book because it is easy to access, the images (both black and white and colour) are clear and informative, and the financial statistics at the back explain why and how the original Corris completely lost its way. This is a decent book to get up to speed on a lesser-known but worthwhile project.

Steam World, March 2020

As featured in

Branch Lines and Light Railway Publications

It is worth of a place on the bookshelves of enthusiasts of narrow gauge and other quirky independent railways, and is a valuable record of the history of this little railway and it's place in the Dulas valley. I found it an enjoyable and informative read, and as a modeller, a good source of inspiration.

Read the full review here

Michael's Model Railways

All of this is presented in the quality package that Pen & Sword has become renowned for. The text is easily readable, the layouts making best use of the plentiful picture content, not all of which this reviewer had seen before. In summary this is an impressive work, both to enjoy reading and to have on one's shelf.

Narrow Gauge World, No 145 (Jan/Feb 2020)
 Peter Johnson

About Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson is an historian specialising in North Wales’s railways, particularly its many narrow gauge lines. Writing nearly 40 books since 1984, he brings together threads from many original sources to produce informed and readable accounts of their histories and development.

A retired local government officer, he was editor of the Ffestiniog Railway Society’s quarterly magazine from 1974 until 2003 and a director of the society for 11 years. In 2003 he was appointed the Festiniog Railway Company’s official photographer. From 1991-2019 he contributed a narrow-gauge railway news column to one of the national railway magazines. This is his sixth title for Pen & Sword Transport, following books on the Festiniog (two), Welsh Highland, Corris Railway and Vale of Rheidol Railways.

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