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Magnettes & Steam - 26th March

As usual the first event of the UK season was Magnettes & Steam, at the Peak Rail Rowsley South centre. Although the railway only runs just over 3 miles from Rowsley to Matlock, it has a fascinating history, being part of the Midland line from Derby to Manchester, which required many engineering challenges to be overcome through the Derbyshire hills, as well as negotiations with the landowners of Chatsworth and Haddon Hall. 

The line closed in the 1960s, but small sections were reopened by the Peak Railway Preservation Society from the 1990s onwards.  Local history expert and Magnette owner Stephen Coates had suggested the venue at the last AGM, and acted as liaison with the railway management, who were very helpful in planning our event and even arranging a discount for train travel.

The day before was tantalizingly warm and fine, but as forecast, Saturday dawned with strong and cold winds, and rain threatening. This didn't seem to deter MG owners though, as we had a good turnout both of Magnettes from all over the country (Peter Martin probably travelled furthest, from Kent) and other MGs whose owners were mostly local to Matlock. It was a good job though that we had a gazebo to shelter from the rain, courtesy of Stephen and Mandy Coates, even if some imagination was required to keep the gazebo on the ground.

Our generous allocation of reserved parking was almost full by late morning, with 14 Z Magnettes on one side, and a similar number of other models opposite - the Chesterfield MG Group and the Staffordshire Moorlands MG Club both organized runs to Rowsley.

The regular service of diesel and steam-hauled trains provided a welcome respite from the weather, with a leisurely return trip to Matlock taking about an hour, and the Rowsley buffet was also doing good business dispensing coffee and bacon rolls. Most people set off home around 3pm.

Text and photos by Stephen Tickell

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