Isabel had been very much a part of Stafford life. She hauled granite for the Cliffe Hill Granite Company of Markfield, Leicestershire from new, being retired in 1946. She might have awaited the scrapman’s torch, but it was lucky that W.G. Bagnall were looking for a suitable display locomotive and so in 1953 she was brought back to be restored by apprentices and to be put on display on a plinth at the Castle Engine Works. In 1961 English Electric took over Bagnalls and ceased steam locomotive production in Stafford and soIsabel was moved to a site opposite the new (1963) Railway Station. She remained there for the next 20 years, paying a further visit to the Castle Works in 1977 for cosmetic restoration.By the early 1980s Isabel presented a very sorry sight. Her chimney had collapsed and much of the plate-work was rotten. She was removed to be restored in conjunction with Stafford Borough Council, but this initial scheme was destined not to be completed. It was around this time that a small number of local enthusiasts heard of Isabel’s predicament and formed the Stafford Narrow Gauge Railway Society (SNGRS) – from 2002 Staffordshire Narrow Gauge Railway Ltd – to complete a thorough restoration of the locomotive back into steam. Thus agreement was reached with Stafford Borough Council in October 1987 and work started in earnest at a Council depot. The resultant restoration over three years repaired the boiler, fitted a new chimney and saddle-tank, with all new plate work; the result was awarded the 1989 Dorothea Award for Conservation and the 1993 British Coal Steam Heritage Award.
It was now necessary to find somewhere to run Isabel! Agreement was finally reached with Amerton Farm which had suitable land for a short circuit, and “cutting the first sod” was performed by the Mayor of Stafford on 26th May 1990. Thus it was that Isabel arrived at Amerton on 26th October 1991 and ran her first revenue earning trains in July 1992.