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Magnettes & Steam, 15th April 2017

The traditional season-opener for UK Magnette enthusiasts was held this year at Tenterden station on the Kent & East Sussex Railway.

This was the first Register event in Kent for some time, so there was slight concern as to whether the distance involved would deter some potential visitors. But as it turned out attendance was up on last year, with 24 Z Magnettes and 2 MKIV Farinas (together with several modern and other MG models) and several owners from the area coming for their first Register event. There were also others such as Jeffrey Bridges who's a familiar face but was attending with his Magnette fresh from a long restoration. Peter Martin had a steady stream of people seeking spares and advice, and was enjoying the novelty of an event right on his doorstep for once ! The weather was cool but dry for most of the day. 

K&ESR were very helpful in allowing us to park around the station buildings, with only the last few arrivals having to use an overspill. The line has an interesting history, having only opened around 1900 and being built to a tight budget which necessitated fairly lightweight track construction (although of normal gauge). The line was never very profitable even though it served the farming communities of the Rother Valley, and it was progressively closed down from the 1950s. The K&ESR was formed to rescue the line, which again happened in stages, until the 11.5 mile stretch from Tenterden to Bodiam was finally opened in 2000. The round-trip journey of about an hour and half passes through beautiful countryside, and those who wanted to make the most of the trip were able to walk from Bodiam station to the castle, a 14th century moated ruin with the conveniently placed Castle Inn where a group of Magnette owners gathered for lunch.

Text by Clive Webb and Stephen Tickell. Photos by David Halliday and Stephen Tickell

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