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Magnettes & Steam, 31st March 2018

Easter Saturday wasn’t ideal weather to kick off the Register events season, being cool and damp, but at least the threatened snow didn’t materialize, and Magnettes & Steam at the Cholsey & Wallingford Railway in Oxfordshire was actually quite a successful day.


The C&W is a short branch from the mainline station at Cholsey to the small town of Wallingford, closed by British Rail in 1959, then reopened as a preserved railway in 1981. It doesn’t have permanent steam engines, but there’s vintage diesels, a decent size car-park and a cafe at Wallingford station, so it ticked the boxes as a suitable venue, as well as being centrally located within easy reach of Magnette owners in the south and Midlands. The C&W staff were keen to help us, and initial contact was easy, since Register chairman Paul Batho lives only a few miles away

David Halliday offered to bring a bit of his native Australia to the proceedings by running a barbecue - perhaps rather optimistic for the UK in March, but local owner Peter Bonthrone was duly recruited to bring along a gas bbq. Thanks are due to him, and of course to David and Kerri for organizing and cooking the food.

There were 17 Z Magnettes in total (although a couple only stayed briefly) and several other MGs as well. We were offered some parking space on the platform, and since David had unusually managed to get two of his Magnette fleet on the road at the same time, KCF51 (ex-Warren Marsh) and 594AAF (ex-Jan Pearce) were on display there.

After a dry start to the day, showers set in, so there was less activity around the parking area and more gathering in the station buffet and around the barbecue and gazebo. Most of us enjoyed the short ride to Cholsey and back, a sausage sandwich and a chat, before heading for home from about 3pm.

text by Stephen Tickell, photos by Cynthia Harris and Stephen Tickell

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