Zeigler 4 Mine (also called the Buckhorn Mine) was a slope mine located just south of the Franklin-Williamson County line in Southern Illinois. It was off of “Old Ben Road” in the aforementioned county. The mine worked for over 30+ years under a couple of company names. First off, it was Bell and Zoller Mine Number 4. Later it was acquired by Zeigler Coal Company. Many miners worked this mine until its’ closure in June of 1980. Chicago and Eastern Illinois; Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy, Illinois Central, and the Missouri Pacific all served the mine for some time in the early 20th century via the maze of mine spurs that permeated the Southern Illinois landscape. Railroads had joint switching agreements; reciprocal trackage rights; and car haulage rights to get the jobs done for their respective lines. The mine was a tipple operation; and required daily switching until its’ closure. Men working topside would ride the cars and use the handbrakes to get the cars into loading position…along with a cable system as well. The Missouri Pacific would swap empty hoppers for loads with train 409; the Buckhorn mine shifter TSE (Traveling Switch Engine). During my time growing up in West Frankfort, it was not uncommon to see mine runs being built in West Frankfort’s yard and heading to this mine, and the other mine on the branch; Freeman United Coal Orient Number 4. It will be covered with its’ own page.

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Thomas Austin

I am a Southern Illinois Native. I am a fan of nostalgia, and the history of Southern Illinois. Model Railroading has been a large part of my life; and it helps serve that interest. Through this interest I have learned much about the region; the people; and the industries that gave us all hope of building a life beyond our formal education. Small Towns in the Midwest built this nation...and this site aims to share that fact with the world.


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