Click to use the Talking Dictionary 69. Train Wreck "Frees" Cows

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A Continental Pacific Railroad freight train derailed on Tuesday about 40 miles north of Sacramento. The exact cause is still being investigated, but authorities say it was no accident. The head engineer said everything was fine; then suddenly, everything wasn't.

Of the freight train's 86 cars, 22 went off the tracks. Fortunately, this incident did not involve any fatalities, human or otherwise. The head engineer was treated for a broken wrist at a nearby hospital. He was the only casualty.

Trains throughout California frequently carry dangerous cargoes, such as chemicals. When these trains derail, authorities immediately evacuate nearby communities because of the danger of explosions or of harmful fumes. However, this train carried only lumber, new automobiles, and cattle destined for slaughter.

After the mishap, lumber was scattered on either side of the tracks. About 20 automobiles were damaged. The biggest problem, however, was the cattle. About 300 of them were standing on or near the tracks, wandering into the nearby woods, or standing on the nearby highway. Traffic on the two-lane highway was backed up for almost a mile in each direction.

"We know who did this," said a California Highway Patrol spokesman. "The train was sabotaged by a group called Tofu for You. They left their pamphlets all over the crime scene. They 'liberate' animals that are on their way to the slaughterhouse. They think Americans should eat tofu instead of meat. They're wasting their time. All these cows are going to be burgers by tomorrow night."


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