5541 was allocated to Swindon shed in 1928 as a new locomotive but subsequently moved to Bristol Bath Road and from 1938 until 1960 at Machynlleth. At Machynlleth it was employed in various duties including hauling the Pwllheli portion of the Cambrian Coast Express. In 1960 moved to Plymouth Laira where it spent two years working on the Launceston branch in Cornwall for two years until withdrawn in 1962.
The locomotive stayed at Woodham Brothers scrapyard until 1972 when it moved to the Dean Forest Railway by rail. It was restored there and steamed again in November 1975.
In May 1983 5541 made an historic run over the A48 level crossing in Lydney town centre to collect a large train made up of wagons delivered to Lydney by British Rail. In August 1985 it again went to Lydney Yard to collect the GWR150 exhibition coaches for a weekend display at Norchard.
Following another overhaul and boiler change at Norchard the locomotive returned to steam in August 1994. 5541 then made a number of visits to other preserved railways including Bodmin & Wenford, Llangollen, and the Gwili.
The boiler certificate expired early in 2004, and the locomotive underwent a major overhaul costing in excess of £120,000 until it returned to service in April 2014. During the overhaul, its third on the Dean Forest Railway, the boiler was sent to the LNWR works at Crewe, and the rest of the locomotive was overhauled at Norchard.
It now has a boiler ticket which does not expire until 2023.
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