Gelert was built in 1953 by Bagnall for the Rustenberg Platinum Mines in South Africa.
It was the last of four Bagnalls ordered by the mines during the period 1948 - 1953. It was not named whilst working at Rustenberg, but was given the number 4. Its sister engines are all preserved: No.1 in Johannesburg, South Africa, No.2 at Loxhill in Surrey while No.3 is also on the Welsh Highland Railway, awaiting restoration.
The Rustenberg Platinum Mine is a very large complex about 100 miles north-west of Johannesburg. A 2ft gauge railway was built to serve the various shafts and to carry the platinum ore about 10 miles to the reduction plant at Waterval. By March 1981, the 2ft gauge track had been replaced by standard Cape Gauge (3'6").
This locomotive and its sister, No. 3 (works no. 3023), were first sought in the early '70s, but the Arab - Israeli War with its consequent world oil shortage gave them a new lease of life in the mines. In 1980 they again became available and the purchase was completed.
Both locomotives arrived in Porthmadog in April 1982, but serious work on restoring No.4 did not begin until 1990. Restoration was completed in 1992, the locomotive receiving its name and entering service in August of that year.
Locomotive No. 3 received some restoration work at Gelert's Farm Works but resources weren't available to complete the work. The loco left the site in 2007 to a new owner, and is expected to see service on the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway.
The unusual Bagnall Price valve gear of these locomotives is described in Journal 121.
Gelert's boiler had a major overhaul from late 2002, returning in May 2003. The frames also had major repairs, undoing some problems that had been introduced at a much earlier off-site overhaul. The boiler has been refitted to the frames and pressure- and steam-tested. Some rebuilding of the bodywork was also undertaken.