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SABOTAGE SUSPECTED IN TRAIN WRECK

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Standing in a parked locomotive, Gary LaValley had about two seconds to notice a runaway freight train barreling close to 50 mph down a parallel track.

"My first thought was trying to get out the front door," said LaValley, an employee of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. "Of course, in two seconds you've only got a couple of steps. I think I even said out loud: `So this is what it's like to die."'LaValley braced himself as the train operated by Burlington Northern Santa Fe slammed into two locomotives on the track beside him and then into a rail yard building late Wednesday night.

Sabotage was suspected, an official at Burlington Northern said Thursday, but refused to disclose what evidence was found.

"There appears to have been some tampering with the train. As a result we have called in the FBI," said Dick Russack, a spokesman for Burlington Northern in Illinois.

The train had passed an inspection at the Northtown yard.

"The one thing we know is that the brakes did not have the air pressure they needed. Now, why? We don't know," said John Bergene, a Canadian Pacific spokesman. Braking power comes from air pressure carried in hoses from the locomotives to the rail cars.

The crash hurled steel wreckage just short of an employee lunchroom, injured nine men, and disgorged much of the train's cargo of lumber, grain and other products. Forty-four cars and six locomotives were twisted in a quarter mile of destruction.

LaValley escaped injury.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe offered a $10,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction.

But the FBI said it had not yet determined whether sabotage occurred.

Last October, one person was killed and 78 injured in the sabotage of Amtrak's Sunset Limited in the desert near Hyder, Ariz., about 55 miles southwest of Phoenix.