- “So ye're boun' for the wee railway. Ye must put some order into those trucks. The havers they make, it's hard to believe.”
- ―Neil to Skarloey, Very Old Engines
Neil was a dark green tank engine with an unusual box shape and a Scottish accent. He was a simple but kind engine, who befriended Skarloey when he was young.
Neil was built at Neilson and Company's Hyde Park Works in Glasgow, Scotland around 1856, for the Sodor and Mainland Railway and was a typical contractors' engine of the period. In 1865, he helped to ferry Skarloey from the port of Kirk Ronan to his home at the Skarloey Railway terminus of Crovan's Gate. He warned Skarloey about trucks and the two became friends.
Very little is known about Neil due to the S&M's casual attitude to record keeping, but he and his brothers were all scrapped by 1901 which also brought services to an end.
Not much is known about Neil, but Skarloey says that he was "ugly but kind".
Neil is based on a Neilson 0-4-0 box tank, a simple and robust class of engine built in Glasgow and sold all over the world. This basis is reflected in his name and class. His country of origin also explains his accent.
Neil was painted dark green with "S & M 2" written on his tank sides in yellow. On a trading card, Neil was painted black instead of green.
- 1987 - The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways (mentioned)
- 2005 - Sodor: Reading Between the Lines (mentioned)