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OrientalGreat Northern Secrets



The following section is courtesy of GNRHS member, Bruce Barsness
bruceab@mninter.net of New Brighton, Minnesota. This is a complete pamphlet entitled, "Great Northern Secrets" which Bruce spent a great deal of time putting together for this web page. Thanks, Bruce! And now without further ado, I will let Bruce present a brief introduction of the train and the recipes from its dining car.

To start reading the entire brochure, click on the page links to the left. Enjoy!

Dining With Rocky on the Oriental Limited

The “Oriental Limited” was the premier transcontinental train of the Great Northern Railway from 1905 until the Empire Builder began service in 1929.

In 1924, a major upgrading of the Oriental Limited occurred. Seven entirely new all-steel consists were put into service. This train was arguably the finest train of its time, in the grandest era of passenger trains. Incidentally, Rocky (the widely recognized corporate symbol of the Great Northern) made his first ever appearance in passenger service on that train, having been placed on the drumhead at the back of the observation car. Every possible comfort and convenience of the day was included. As one would expect, included each consist was an elegant and luxurious dining car. They were built by the Pullman Company and named after a state served by the Great Northern. The interiors were painted in shades of green, with “adornments” of lighter tones. Fresh-cut flowers from the GN’s own greenhouse in Monroe, Washington were put on the tables daily. Each east-bound train slowed at Stryker, Montana, so that fresh-caught mountain trout could be handed up to the dining car. Dinner was announced by melodious chimes, and the menu consisted of delectable selections such as GN-style individual chicken pot pies, baked Salmon, GN-style vegetables, North Dakota beef, and Wenatchee apple pie.

The Great Northern Railway wanted to be known as having the finest train running between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest, and the dining service was heavily promoted by the publicity department. In addition to advertisements and brochures featuring dining, promotional postcards, menus, and even booklets containing recipes for the dining car specialties were distributed freely. Dining patrons could address these items to friends and relatives and leave them on the table, and train personnel would add postage and mail them without charge.

One such booklet was called Great Northern Secrets, and included recipes for many of the railway’s most promoted dining car specialties. That brochure is presented on the following pages. We hope that you enjoy looking at it, and that perhaps you will even try a few of the recipes. You may soon be Dining With Rocky in your very own home!