The Rusty Dusty
Great Northern Railway’s Wenatchee-Oroville Branch
By Mac McCulloch, John E. Langlot.
Cloth with dust jacket, 8.5x11", 396 pages, 98 photos, 70 maps, bibliography. 2016.
"The Rusty Dusty is a new hard cover book of 396 pages, 70 maps, and 98 photographs that presents a comprehensive look at the Great Northern's Wenatchee-Oroville branch in Washington State. The book is intended for general readers, historians, and rail fans interested in exploring the fascinating history of how GN's westward expansion substantially influenced the history and economy of the Pacific Northwest.
"For readers interested in the W-O line specifically, it includes construction and operational detail, with numerous maps and photographs that capture the history of this significant line, which enabled and supported the success of the tree fruit industry that literally feeds the nation. The geographic scope extends from the Canadian Continental Divide and Whitefish, Montana, on the east, to Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, BC, on the west, with emphasis on the territory between Wenatchee and Oroville. The book explores the relationship of the W–O to subjects and issues seldom included in railroad books such as:
- the geography and geology of the territory it serves,
- irrigation to support fruit orchards,
- refrigerator cars and the Western Fruit Express,
- freight rates and economic regulation, and the
- local economy of the area served by the railroad.
"The local economy is crucial. Any railroad can haul only what people consume or what they produce in such volume that they must sell it beyond the local market. The Rusty Dusty
lays the historical and geographical groundwork for the W-O line beginning with a summary of James J. Hill's expansion strategy west of Devils Lake, ND. It then describes the construction of the W-O line and the economy of the territory it served."