The Prussian State Railways ordered the first example of the T 28 rack locomotive before the First World War, as the T 26 units used up to that point were no longer powerful enough for modern requirements and were too slow. It was only delivered in 1920 and thus came directly to the Reichsbahn. Initially, the number 9101 of the Prussian railway headquarters in Erfurt was assigned, until the locomotive was assigned to the class 97 like other rack locomotives and became road number 97 401.
The new locomotive had the wheel arrangement 2-8-2RT and was significantly heavier than the T 26. To ensure sufficient maneuverability around curves, the fourth coupled axle was designed to be laterally displaceable, the second had narrower flanges and the carrying axles were each mounted in a bissel bogie. The power plant was designed as a compound engine with cylinders arranged one above the other, of which the lower ones acted on the second coupled axle. The locomotive therefore had a two-cylinder engine with simple steam expansion in adhesion mode.
When used on the rack, the upper cylinders were also used, which acted on the two gear wheels via a linkage that was also on the outside. With this, 150 tonnes could still be towed on a gradient of six percent. Because the gears were located between the first and second and between the second and third coupled axle, these had a longer wheelbase than between the third and fourth. Another striking feature was the very high mounted boiler, which is due to the placement of the cylinders.
During the following test runs on routes in the Thuringian Forest, Hunsrück and Harz Mountains, it turned out that the less expensive class 95 locomotive could perform the same or in some cases even better without a rack, which is why series production of the rack locomotive did not take place. After the Reichsbahn could not find any use for the one-off in the long term, it was sold to the Eutin-Lübeck railway in 1929. Of course, the gear drive was no longer needed there and was therefore removed. In 1938 it was resold to the Brandenburg City Railway, where it was used in heavy freight service, but was inferior to newer locomotives.
After the war it came to the Reichsbahn and was referred to there as 93 6576. It was only in use there until 1955, as it was considered uneconomical and, as a one-off in operation, was difficult to manage among the larger numbers of locomotives.