Proteus is a legendary narrow gauge tank engine, whose headlamp is said to grant the wishes of any engine who finds it.
Proteus was a very old narrow gauge engine, who used to work up in the hills of Sodor. According to legend, his headlamp was magic, and anyone who found it would have their wishes granted. The clues to finding his headlamp include feeling a rush of wind, hearing a strange creaking noise and seeing a flickering light.
Skarloey once told the narrow gauge engines about the legend of Proteus while they were at the Transfer Yards. Peter Sam scoffed at the story and believed it to be silly, but slowly became convinced it was true when he heard and saw the clues mentioned in the tale, only to find out they were not coming from the lamp. Eventually, he realized that just believing in the headlamp would grant his wishes. (TVS; The Magic Lamp)
Years later, Miss Marvel, a famous storyteller, came to the Skarloey Railway to read stories about the legend of Proteus. While he was rushing to finish his jobs, Peter Sam stumbled upon an old statue of Proteus on an abandoned siding, and chose to hide it until the ceremony began. When the statue was found, it was restored and put on display in a park close by to the railway. (TVS; Mountain Marvel)
Proteus is based on a Hughes Falcon 0-4-2ST locomotive class, which were built by the Falcon Works in Loughborough, England for the Corris Railway. One such example includes Sir Haydn, an engine that currently works on the Talyllyn Railway in Wales. Sir Handel and Albert are other members of this class.
Proteus is painted bright yellow with red lining. His bufferbeams are painted dark red, and his buffers are silver. He carries his headlamp on top of his smokebox, which is painted white. Parts of his cylinders are also green.
In some merchandise ranges, Proteus is depicted with a nameplate, the number 3 and gold valve gear, despite not having any of these additions on his television series model.
- The statue of Proteus does not feature his signature lamp.
- Proteus' model was later used for Sir Handel starting with the tenth season. However, he has much larger cylinders than Sir Handel does, as he reuses Peter Sam's chassis. This is shown by the green edges of his cylinders underneath his bufferbeam.