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The "Märklin Engine" was an off-the-shelf Gauge 1 model used to haul rolling stock in the background of the first series for creating the illusion of business. It is a German Federal Railways 80 class 0-6-0 tank engine first produced by the German model railway maker Märklin in 1971.
The Märklin Engine was first acknowledged in the crew member's dedication page on the Sodor Island Fansite. The page featured a behind the scenes photograph of the Märklin engine from the episode Tenders and Turntables. It then appeared on screen in The Flying Kipper in the background shunting and preparing the Flying Kipper for Henry to take away. The Märklin engine also appeared in Off the Rails, and can be seen in a still from Thomas' Train pulling a small goods train next to Henry at Knapford.
When the second series started production, the Märklin engine was no longer needed and other engines were used to haul rolling stock in the background. Because of this, the model was cut up and used as set dressing. A scrap smokebox of the Märklin engine later appeared at Crocks Scrap Yard in Edward, Trevor and the Really Useful Party, the numbering and lettering was still visible on the model's smokebox door. A Märklin BR 80 chassis was later used to push trucks along and is seen in Put Upon Percy.
A scrap model of the Märklin engine was later included in Blue Mountain Mystery in a scene at Vicarstown Dieselworks by Greg Tiernan as a nod to how it's scrap variant was seen in the background of series past.
- Parts of the Märklin Engine (BR 80) were used as parts of the following engines:
- In the first five series, Toby's wheels and side rods were red, because they were not repainted from the original colour of the BR 80. In Busy Going Backwards, Toby's exposed chassis were seen pushing Toad and his train of trucks past the buffers that were set away by the points.
- The locomotive was also used as the basis for Puffa and the Goods Engine from Thomas & Friends' sister show TUGS, though Puffa is modified with a 19th century diamond smokestack, an oil-burning headlamp and a cowcatcher.
- Tim Staffel's interview with Sodor Island Fansite
- Robert Gauld-Galliers' interview with Sodor Island Fansite
- BR 80 on Modellbau-Wiki