Rusty is an old steam dream hauler.
Seemingly, Rusty was the oldest and most senior dream hauler of dream land. He knew lots of jokes, and remember lots of story in the old days, such as when dream haulers need to go over Dream Mountain. Unlike other more snobbish engines like Shiny Passenger Train, Rusty showed a caring side to the little shunter, Little Engine, and would encourage her not to give up her wish to be a dream hauler just because bigger engines teased her about her size.
One day, he offered to take Freight Train's load to the real world after joking with him at the water tower. He also witnessed Little Engine trying to haul Big Locomotive's entire heavy train to the depot, and encouraged the shunter not to give up by telling her: "If you think you can, you will; if you think you can't, you won't. Either way, you're right.", filling Little Engine with hope once more.
However, when Rusty made his way to the real world, he accidently fell asleep in the park, leaving the tracks still visible to real people. Richard the real boy wandered into the park, scared to go home due to the fact that two bullies took his grandfather's watch, only to trip over railway tracks. He eventually came upon Rusty's train, yet was unaware at the time Rusty is an intelligent locomotive. A gust of wind blew; Richard, cold, climbed into one of Rusty's vans for shelter, but the slamming of the van door jerked the old engine awake. Horrified by his mistake, Rusty immediately took off back to dream land, oblivious to the fact a real boy was aboard his train. Richard yelled for him to stop, yet was thrown back in as Rusty accelerated into Dream Tunnel. The reality of Rusty's load was too much for the tunnel, and Rusty only just managed to clear his train before the tunnel collapsed into smithereens. Rusty, alarmed, raced back to inform the tower.
Back at the yard, everything was out of control. Just as Tower was trying to get everyone back on track, Rusty rushed in with the bad news. As the engines was trying to figure out what happened, Richard tumbled out of Rusty's train and fell over in front of Little Engine. Richard's shock to find himself in the mist of intelligent locomotives was nowhere near the engines' to see a real boy in Dream Land. Finally, Rusty realized his nap resulted in a terrible disaster.
The Tower sent Freight Train, Big Locomotive and Shiny Passenger Train to clear the tunnel at once. Rusty tried to make up for his error by informing the tower about the old tracks that climbed over dream mountain, but she dismissed this thought scornfully, then demoted Rusty to a track cleaner for falling asleep on the job. Little Engine tried to persuade the controller not to do so, yet Rusty considered this a reasonable price for what he caused. Later, Rusty told Little Engine about the history of dream delivery, about how dangerous it was for him and his fellow engines to deliver wishes and dreams to the real world when they had to climb the mountain, and some engines never making it through. Though the engines forgot this after the tunnel was dug out, Rusty guessed that the old tracks were still there. Little Engine tried once more to make their controller understand; however The Tower thought Little Engine was interfering with her work, and sent her aside by promising if Little Engine fixed Dream Land Rusty will get his job back and a ticker-tape parade. Boosted by The Tower, Little Engine took Richard towards Dream Mountain Junction to ask the big engines to haul him over the mountain, even picking up Red Engine's derailed birthday train along the way.
When the big engines thought Rusty had gone soft in the smoke box, Little Engine took Richard and the toys over the mountain singled handed. When she got back, the tunnel fixed itself automatically. Big Locomotive, Freight Train and Shiny Passenger Train witnessed her coming back. In the yards, The Tower was shocked to hear Little Engine went over Dream Mountain, with the Caboose backing her up. As promised, Rusty got his job back, received a ticker-tape parade, and Little Engine's wish was finally granted.
Rusty is a wise old engine who gets along well with all the big engines, and cared for Little Engine very much. He also felt his responsibility as a dream hauler deeply, as shown when he didn't argue one bit with the tower's punishment. He was thrilled when Little Engine won his job back, and liked her even more.
Rusty had a black cowcatcher in front of him which was temporarily replaced by a track cleaning broom. His eyebrows were above his cab windows, while his two eyes are on before them. The gap between his smoke box and footplate formed his mouth, while his nose was a brown one fixed on his smoke box. A mirror was fitted to his boiler before his eyes, which can be flipped up for him to see from behind.
Rusty's funnel, boiler, footplate and smoke box were painted grey, while his cylinder was a pale yellow. Brown was applied to his cab roof, nose and sandbox. His has a red cab, black wheels and piston rods.