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Magnettes & Steam 30th March 2024

Our events season started at the Bluebell Railway in Sussex, where we enjoyed welcome warm sunny weather for the whole day, no doubt contributing to a good turnout of about 15 Magnettes.

There were several new faces, reflecting cars changing hands recently, and a good mix of cars including John Langford's immaculately presented Farina. It was also noticeable that the recent trend for more ZA Magnettes than ZB or Varitone models continued

The Bluebell was amongst the earliest preserved railways, with the first part of the line having been taken over from BR as soon as it was closed in 1960. Since then more sections of the original track have been restored so it now runs 11 miles from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park. We were based at Horsted Keynes station, more or less in the middle.
As usual those attending were left to choose their own schedule and which trains to take, but a decent number joined the guided tour of the carriage workshop, kindly provided for us by the railway volunteers. The workmanship displayed in the carpentry, painting and trimming was very impressive, and it was interesting to learn that a complete restoration of an unusual carriage such as a 1930s buffet car might take up to 10 years, although there are certainly Magnette restorations that have been ongoing for longer than that ! Thanks to Charlotte and the other railway staff for helping to make our visit such a success

Text and photos by Stephen Tickell

  • Magnettes at the Bluebell Railway
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