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Cattle on the Track!

Cliff Beagan

A funny story from CPR railroad olden days, which happened on the Bruce Division many years ago, is brought back to me every time I travel to Barrie to visit our daughter and her three young ones. What triggers the memory is (or was) everytime I travelled through the three year (or longer) reconstruction of the highway 400 overpass over the Mactier Sub at Craighurst.
What took them so long???

I was heading south on a freight one night, and while travelling at track speed, and after rounding the curve to the left, a short distance south of that overpass, there is a steer standing in the middle of the track a few hundred yards distant. We didn't even apply the brake. The lead unit was an 8700 (MLW RS-18) with the catwalk right in front of the (windowed) door where I was sitting. The steer was looking at the horizon, and no doubt with it's feeble mind, must have been amazed and bewildered at how fast the sun (our headlight) was rising in the distance. I immediately moved away from the window when a funny story I had heard about animals on the track was rekindled. We hit the animal broadside and knocked him over the fence line a couple of hundred yards distant I would guess.

The funny story that came to my mind concerned an employee named 'George Busby' when he was a brakeman. George was a Conductor when I started in 1951 so this incident was probably in the late 1940's. This time they had a steam engine and were approaching Carley from the south when the engineer hollered......"cows on the track"... George Busby quickly stuck his head out to see what was up.......and............SMUCK. Right in his face. An enormous load of excrement and innards. Poor Goerge was almost blinded I was told. The lesson learned???? "Whenever you get hit with a bucket of shit be sure and close your eyes". Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa I later took a picture of that exact spot in February 1954 from the engineer's side at Carley.

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