Most websites about individual engines are either because they were famous or are today preserved.

5028 was “Unsung” and is long gone, but she was well liked by the Great Western footplate men who drove and fired her. She worked mainly in the Newton Abbot & Laira Areas.


The following pages trace her story from “Birth” in 1934 to her untimely “Death” in 1960.


                  Chris Hext.


Apprentice Fitter and Turner 6th Oct 1952  to 6th Sept 1957.

The first 4 years were at Newton Abbot and the final year at Swindon.


On 9th Sept 1957 he moved in to the Locomotive Drawing Office at Swindon as a Draughtsman, where he stayed until April 1965 when he left the railway.


A description of his career with BR was serialised in ‘Steam World’ Magazine in 2013/14.  He kindly supplied me with a copy of his full manuscript.


He recalled that during his final apprenticeship year at Swindon he re-fitted the speedometer to 5028 on 30th May 1957. (she was in Swindon Factory from 6th Feb 1957 until 3rd June 1957 for a Heavy Intermediate overhaul.)

“The speedometer would have been an almost last job before she went out from AE shop”.


He also remembered that she was used regularly on the ‘Salop’ a double home trip for the Newton top link, shared with Shrewsbury men, up and back the next day. He also recalls her being used on the Torbay Express.  Says 5028 was a robust loco, she gave little trouble and kept tight.

As she was a Newton Abbot Loco until June 1956 he is sure he would have worked on her there, “no doubt valves & pistons 4 & 8 monthly exams at 83A”.


His father was with GWR/BR for 48 years,  Firing until 1941 and ending his career in 1966 as a Driver.  When Chris was at Swindon from 1957 his father was often on the “The Owl”, the 9/50p.m. Paddington to Penzance sleeper.  Chris would catch this train, home for the weekend, on a Friday night (12.00 midnight from Swindon). His father and other Drivers would allow him travel on the footplate, helping to fire and occasionally he took the regulator.


It is a coincidence that this is the train which 5028 was on (further down the line just outside Plymouth station) when a minor accident caused her demise.  

The Apprentice.

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