Merlin is an upcoming character who will be introduced in Journey Beyond Sodor.
When Thomas travels to the Mainland, he befriends the experimental engines, Merlin, Theo and Lexi. Merlin sails through life, full of confidence, believing that he has the ability to become invisible. He promises to help Thomas find his way back to Sodor. Later, the experimental engines come to rescue Thomas and James when they are trapped in the Steelworks.
Merlin is based on the LSWR N15 Class, referred to as the "King Arthur" class by the Southern Railway, specifically No. 783 Sir Gillemere. In 1943, Sir Gillemere was fitted with three stovepipe chimneys by Oliver Bulleid as a wartime experiment. The way the smoke was spread out was meant to make the trains less visible to bombers overhead. The experiment wasn't a success, and the engine was quickly converted back to normal. No. 783 became No. 30783 under British Railways and was withdrawn in March 1961.
Merlin's name is likely taken from another King Arthur locomotive, No. 740 Merlin. A single "King Arthur is preserved as part of the National Collection, no. 777 Sir Lamiel, and is based at the Great Central Railway, currently awaiting overhaul.
Merlin is painted grey, has a red running board and black smoke deflectors. He has red and gold nameplates on either sides. His number is also painted white on his front bufferbeam, the sides of his cab and tender.
- Hugh Bonneville (UK/US)