Originally numbered 1418, this locomotive was built at Derby in 1880. It became 1708 in 1907, LMS 1708 in 1923, BR M1708 in 1948 and finally 41708 in 1949.
In 1926 along with many others 41708 was rebuilt with a Belpaire boiler but retained the half cab.
The locomotive was allocated to Burton on Trent in December 1880 from where it moved on in 1892 to Spital, Peterborough. It remained there for a number of years but by 1902 it had moved to Toton where it remained until 1929 when it returned to Burton on Trent.
In 1940 the locomotive was fitted with Westinghouse air brakes and following its requisition by the War Department it was loaned to the army from April 1940 until December 1944. 41708 was employed on a Derbyshire branch line, which became the Melbourne Military Railway and was used for training military personnel.
At the end of the loan period it returned to Derby until November 1947 when it moved to Staveley (Barrow Hill) shed for shunting duties at Staveley Ironworks. The employment at Staveley Ironworks was undertaken as part of the 100 year agreement signed in 1866 by the Midland Railway and the Staveley Coal and Iron Company.
The duties at Staveley Ironworks were taken over by diesels in 1965 and 41708 was put into store and withdrawn from service the following year. At the time 41708 was the oldest locomotive in service with BR.
41708 was put into store at Canklow, near Rotherham, in 1965 and withdrawn from service the following year.
In 1964, the Midland Railway Locomotive Fund (MRLF) was started with the aim of securing one of the last half cabs. The first choice for preservation was 41712 as this locomotive was the last of the class to be overhauled as recently as 1963. This locomotive was withdrawn from service in September 1964 and sold for scrap before sufficient funds had been raised.
The MLLF had raised enough money in 1966 to purchase one of the five remaining half cab locomotives. Despite being the oldest 41708 was considered to be in the best condition and was purchased directly from BR.
The owing group subsequently became the 1708 Locomotive Trust Ltd.
41708 was moved to Haworth on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway (KWVR) where it steamed again in April 1971 and hauled passenger trains on the line on a couple of occasions before failing with defective boiler tubes at the start of 1972. It remained there, out of service, until 1974 when it moved to the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley. It was then moved on to a private site near Dunstable in March 1976. In March 1979 it returned to the Midland Railway Centre where the restoration of the locomotive was completed.
It steamed again in the later part of the 1980s.
The locomotive moved to the Swanage Railway in July 1985 and was returned to steam to in time to haul the inaugrial train on the Swanage Railway between Herston and Harman’s Cross in March 1989.
41708 then visited a number of heritage railways including Swanage Railway, Avon Valley Railway, Llangollen Railway and a return to the KWVR where it appeared for the first time in steam there in 1997.
The visits continued including the Buckingham Railway Centre, the North Norfolk Railway, the Great Central Railway, Dean Forest Railway and East Somerset Railway.
In 2002 41708 took part in a photo charter at Workington steel works in order to recreate the look of the engine working at Staveley Ironworks.
It has been provided with a removable cab piece that can convert it to a full cab in winter.
41708 then took up residence at Barrow Hill Roundhouse around 2005 and has remained there. The boiler certificate has now expired.
In December 2018 it was disclosed that agreement had been reached to sell the locomotive to the Barrow Hill Engine Shed Society. The plan is that the locomotive is restored to working order at Barrow Hill.
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