58850 was built at the Bow works of the North London Railway in East London in 1880 and numbered NLR 76. It was renumbered in 1891 to 116 on the NLR duplicate list to free up the number 76, which was then given to a new locomotive built in October 1891. 116 was rebuilt at Bow Works in October 1897.
Following a working agreement in 1909, the NLR was run by the LNWR, becoming part of that company in 1922. In 1909, 116 was transferred to the LNWR and was renumbered 2650 in August 1909.
The LNWR became part of the LMSR at the Grouping in 1923, and as a result it was given the LMS number 7505 in December 1926. In June 1934, it was renumbered 27505. BR renumbered it 58850 in May 1949.
From at least 1935, it was allocated to Rowsley shed in Derbyshire, which is the main shed for the Cromford and High Peak line. This was a freight-only line with steep gradients (more than one of which was rope-worked) and at least one very sharp curve.
When 58850, the last one of the class, was withdrawn from traffic in May 1960 (formally condemned in September 1960), it was kept at Derby until being sold to the Bluebell in working order in 1962 for £890. In fact, BR fitted an overhauled boiler to the locomotive prior to its sale and the locomotive arrived on the Bluebell Railway in March 1962.
During 1964 and early 1965 it was hired to the contractors responsible for lifting the line from Ardingly to Horsted Keynes and Horsted Keynes to East Grinstead, ending up at East Grinstead. The engine was returned to Sheffield Park by road. Since its last overhaul, it has been used in the rebuilding of the line towards Kingscote, as part of the Bluebell’s northern extension to East Grinstead.
The locomotives last period in operation was between 1984 and 1993.
Requiring major boiler work before it can again be steamed, in the interim it was placed on loan to other locations, and to both relieve space at Sheffield Park and act as an ambassador for the Bluebell in foreign parts.
In 1999 it went on loan to Barrow Hill Engine Shed, and on 6 May 2005 was moved to the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway at Wirksworth, this being the nearest location to 27505’s old stamping ground on the Cromford & High Peak Railway. It arrived back at Sheffield Park on 22nd October 2005, with the intention of commencing its overhaul fairly soon.
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