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West Mine: 1939

West Mine: 1939

January 1939. "West Mine, West Frankfort, Illinois. Now abandoned. This mine has been down about a year." Photo by Arthur Rothstein. View full size.


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Ahh, T-section Bettendorfs on the gondola

It appears to be a side-dump type or possibly a drop-bottom.

Locomotive firing - not so green

You did not miss the engineer posing for the classic leaning out the window scene. In fact, he is sitting on the other side of the locomotive. We're looking at the left side, the fireman's side. And you wouldn't see him in the window either, he's shoveling right now. Note the large billow of black smoke over the cab, then a puff of almost white smoke, and dark smoke for about 8 feet directly above the stack. The dark smoke was emitted immediately when he placed each shovelful, the white when he turned back to the tender to pick up another scoopful.

Crop issues here, not of the green kind

It drives me crazy that I can't see the full cab on the engine with an engineer from central casting leaning out! But there is a lot going on in this photo, that's for sure.

Heights for FixIt

The ceilings were the right height for someone who was not "Big John" but more like Curly Howard

Moe: 5'2"
Larry: 5'4"
Curly: 5'5"

[You look lost. - Dave]

Coupling, If You Don't Mine

943, meet Burlington Route. I now pronounce you: Coupled.

Been there

My father-in-law was raised in Raleigh, Illinois, which was coal territory. In the late 1990s, he sold his coal rights to a company and made some decent money for doing nothing. The checks stopped coming after a year or so because the coal was too dirty to be used as fuel.

I took a tour of a closed coal mine in West Frankfort, Illinois, around that time. My memory recalls a burnt oily sulfuric type of odor.

The ceilings were the right height for someone who was not "Big John" but more like Curly Howard. The mine was closed to the public shortly after our tour because it was considered unsafe. Perhaps I was ignorant of the possibility of being buried alive or blown up, but I found the tour informative. My wife, who has claustrophobia, was not impressed. Not a place for a lady.


Are there any other photos of this tipple? Really would make a nice model on my model railroad.

[We'll rummage around and see what we can come up with. - Dave]

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