Apart from 3 years in the beginning and 3 years at the end when she was based at Laira (and a few months at Truro), 5028 spent the other 80% of her life - about 19 years - based at Newton Abbot. Much of her work was done on the Kingswear (Dartmouth) Line & on the fearsome South Devon Banks.
The following article gives a “feel” for the challenges 5028 would have regularly experienced on Dainton, Rattery & Hemerdon Banks.
After a train has cleared Aller Junction, west of Newton Abbot, there lies ahead the tremendous “gable” of Dainton, beginning with just over ½ mile 1 in 98, and then 1¾ miles almost entirely between 1 in 57 and 1 in 36 and with 1¾ miles averaging 1 in 45. The short tunnel just at the crest, with its slip-encouraging tendencies, is not particularly helpful. The first mile down the western
approach is even steeper, with an average inclination of 1 in 40 and a maximum of 1 in 37, then comes a mile of gradual flattening out to 1 in 100 before the first strip level is reached. The extremely sharp curvature down much of this descent, which has to be seen from the footplate to be believed, and for which the gradients are not compensated, adds to the task of the engines of the eastbound trains by increasing flange friction, and enforces a continuous speed restriction of 40 mph on the engines of westbound trains.
From Totnes comes another very exacting climb, less steep, but much longer than those to Dainton. It begins with a mile at 1 in 70, then follows 1 ¾ miles averaging about 1 in 50 to Tigley box, and then from there 1 ½ miles at about 1 in 90 to Rattery box, followed by a relatively gentle rise to the summit at Wrangaton. A similar gentle descent ensues to Hemerdon box, and finally, like dropping down the wall of a house, comes the renowned Hemerdon bank, 2 ¾ miles straight off at an average 1 in 42.