Thursday, 19 December 2019

Book Review: The Corris Railway - Peter Johnson

This is a new release from Pen and Sword books, "The Corris Railway - The story of a mid-Wales slate Railway" by Peter Johnson, and it is pretty much what it says on the cover.

The Corris Railway is one of the oldest of the Welsh slate railways, but one of the less well-known, and I have to say, one of my favourites. The locos and carriages were attractive, the stations quite distinctive, and the scenery through which it ran is beautiful, though of course home to a number of slate quarries. The book tells the story of the line chronologically through four eras - proposals and early horse-drawn years, ownership by a tramway company, and then the GWR, and finally the revival by preservationists in recent years. The text is well written and easy to follow, and introduces the characters involved in the promotion and running of the railway as well as the describing the development and operation of the railway.

As usual from this publisher this hardback book is of good quality, with a good selection of well produced photographs, I don't know how many haven't been seen before but a good number were new to me. There are contemporary maps, and the endpapers feature the route highlighted on 6" OS maps from 1902, but no track plans and I'd have found a simplified map showing key locations mentioned in the text helpful (some places seemed to have several names). There are no drawings, nor stock-lists except a summary of the locos.

So perhaps it isn't a definitive volume about the railway, but it is nonetheless 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.

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