Specifically, Au had been acting as train conductor on a trip from Minnesota to Missouri that day. The train had just left Galesburg when the staff received an unusual call. According to their dispatcher, a member of the public had reported something strange.
Apparently, this person had told the company that they’d seen a live animal on a train car roof. Of course, as a result of his time in the railway business, Au had heard similar tales before. But neither he nor Ortega had actually come across anything like it in the past.
The trailer in question was parked in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, so the engineers investigated as they passed. Initially, it didn’t look like they’d find anything. But eventually, they came across a lumber car, which is a flat-topped trailer usually reserved for transporting construction materials such as wood or sheetrock.