Tackeroo – The Military Railway

Cannock Chase Military Railway

We have been asked on a number of occasions about the whereabouts of the Tackeroo Railway, so in this post I have tried to explain its route from Hednesford to Milford and its purpose.

This railway was constructed during 1915 to serve the Brocton and Rugeley Military camps located on Cannock Chase.  One line was constructed during the spring of 1915 from the LNWR Cannock to Rugeley line near West Cannock No.5 Colliery across the Chase to the Rugeley Camp.  Between January and April a second railway was made from the LNWR Trent Valley line at Milford to the Brocton Camp, and by mid 1915 the lines had been joined.  In addition to army and prisoner of war camps this railway system served Central Stores Depots at Brocton Camp.  The locomotive shed was also located at Brocton Camp. After the war the camps and railway were dismantled and locomotives disposed of.

Locomotives used:  (Gauge 4ft 8½in)

Manning Wardle    0-6-0ST     166/1875     Messenger

Beyer Peacock      0-4-2ST     1140/1871   Blackcock

Hudswell Clarke     0-6-0T       319/1889

Hudswell Clarke     0-6-0ST     333/1890

Hawthorn Leslie     0-6-2T       2879/1911   Pyramus

Hunslett                 0-6-0ST      397/1886    Monmouth

Avonside Engine    0-6-0ST     1742/1916   Avonside  (New)

Manning Wardle     0-6-0ST      812/1881

Possibles, identified by spares orders to Trollope & Sons, & Colls & Sons

Manning Wardle     0-6-0ST      1513/1901    Grassholme

Hunslett                  0-6-0ST       761/1902      Uxbridge

The line started from Hednesford and passed West Cannock No.5 Colliery, who laid the track, which crossed the Chase to Milford, servicing the Military Camps situated on the route.

Tackeroo

No one seems to know exactly where the name came from or when. Various possibilities have been suggested though none can actually be proven.

One idea is that the original houses were built in one row by a Mr. Thacker and became known locally as Thacker’s Row and eventually the local dialect changing it to Tackeroo.

Another suggestion is that the village took its name from the ‘Tackeroo Express’, a train which used to take men and supplies from Hednesford to the First World War Camps on the Chase which were under construction.  The line was first built for the West Cannock Colliery Company to service their No.5 pit but it was taken over to aid the construction of the Camps. (But where did the ‘Tackeroo Express’ get its name from?!)

The line and camps were largely built by Irish labourers and one story has it that the local foreman, George Taylor, had so much trouble with his workforce that to gain their respect he actually challenged their leader in a bare-knuckle fight.  Fortunately he won and the gang’s bad behaviour eased.

Another difficulty faced by the railway was the route – the straight line went up a fairly steep hill, men often had to get off and walk the last part.  In 1915 the route was changed to run along Brindley Valley up to the White House.  The engine still had problems, as did the locals, who often had to put out fires caused by sparks from the engine.

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6 responses to “Tackeroo – The Military Railway

  1. Pingback: Tackeroo – The Military Railway « Chasewater Stuff's Blog Help

  2. Pingback: Tackeroo – The Military Railway « Chasewater Stuff's Blog | Drakz blog Online Service

  3. Pingback: After the rain – Sher Brook and the Tackeroo « geoffspages blog

    • Hi Geoff, A lot of memories in that neck of the woods,our first dog started swimming in the pool with the concrete trough, some 40 odd years ago. Our second dog learned the rudiments of tracking by the trackbed near to the German Military Cemetery, before I started to enter working trials.
      All the best, John cws

  4. Lynn clair elaine Evans

    John the map of the railway shows 90 degree angles in the trackway by the military cemetries ???? how can this be in a railway line

    • Hi Lynn, I would think that it must have been a very tight curve but certailnly not 90 degrees! There was an amount of re-routing of the line due to the gradients, I would suspect that this would have some bearing on the final line taken. John

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