Desmond was bought to serve the Lysaght’s Orb Steelworks in Newport in 1906. The works was founded by John Lysaght and the locomotive was named after a Lysaght family member, Desmond
It was employed at the steelworks until 1973, when it was handed over to the National Museums and Galleries of Wales (NMGW). After leaving Newport, the locomotive was sent to the 2ft gauge Teifi Valley Railway, where it was a static exhibit. While there, it caught the eye of Llanelli & Mynydd Mawr Railway (L&MMR) chairman Des Thomas, and a loan from the NMGW was arranged.
Avonside 0‑4‑0ST Desmond is the first steam locomotive acquired for the L&MMR at Cynheidre. The historic route can trace its origins back to 1802 and the Carmarthenshire Tramroad, which claims to be the first railway to operate under an Act of Parliament, beating the more famous Surrey Iron Tramway by a whisker… despite receiving its Act slightly later.
The locomotive was moved to Llangollen Railway in 2006 for restoration and is being overhauled with the help of a £50,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Desmond has received boiler work, a new cab, tank and bunkers, and attention to bearings. Final tasks include the fitting of vacuum brake equipment to haul passenger trains.
By October 2020 the locomotive was at the Flour Mill where an inspection was undertaken to determine the work required to complete its restoration. No major concerns were highlighted. Following this the plan was to remove the new cab, saddle tanks, partially completed fiebox and boiler from the frames to allow a full assessment to be undertaken.
The restoration work started at the Flour Mill in April 2022.