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Unfinished Lines (Hardback)

Rediscovering the Remains of Railways Never Completed

Colour Books Photographic Books Transport > Trains & Railways

By Mark Yonge
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Pages: 272
Illustrations: 127 colour & black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399018531
Published: 3rd November 2021


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Mark Yonge had, for many years, wanted to write a book about railway projects that were started but never completed. The physical evidence of these works throughout England although rapidly vanishing, can still be seen in places to this day. The reader can view several examples which include viaducts, earthworks, bridges, partially completed tunnels, an abandoned tunnel boring machine and the beginnings of a major London airport. Behind all these tales are stories of intrigue, manipulation, interference by the armed forces and sometimes great sadness brought about by personal ambition and ruin.

These remaining assets are in the main, not protected by legislation and are thus at risk of demolition at any time. It is to be hoped that this record of their existence in the 2020s may go a little way towards recording some of our more interesting and neglected features of railway history for the benefit of future generations.

Competition as featured in

Rail, May 23

Book review as featured in

ICE Panel for Historical Engineering Works Newsletter

"...This volume covers a number of uncompleted railway lines throughout Britain and it is interesting to see a record of the remains as they exist now for other lines where there is a greater extent remaining."

Paul Weeden

Review as featured in

Highlight: 'An enjoyable read, written in a very readable style. Recommend.'

Railways Illustrated

This is a pleasurable introduction to a neglected subject, and a good read.


Backtrack Magazine - June 2022

"The book is lavishly illustrated with portraits of the personalities involved, plans, maps, contemporary photos and photos of what remains of the lines and also instructions on how to find them, and should encourage explorers to go and see for themselves."

Friends of the NRM Review No. 179 Spring 2022

As Featured In

The Railway Observer, Volume 92, April 2022

This is an unusual book which fills a few gaps in the story of our railways, and is also likely to appeal to those with an interest in abandoned industrial archaeology – sometimes referred to these days as ‘urban explorers’ – as well as those who enjoy a country walk or cycle trip with something new to discover along the way. It is well printed and designed.

West Somerset Railway Association

"Unfinished Lines is a stimulating book which rings with the author’s enjoyment of his subject."

Railway and Canal Historical Society Journal

"This book is recommended."

Ffestiniog Railway Magazine - Spring 2022

"Another excellent book for the historian and enthusiast alike."

Jim Simmonds, The Broad Gauge Society

Featured in

RVR Members Magazine

"This book is a true memorial to dedicated research, and is recommended to those of us interested in the might-have-beens of railway history."

Tenterden Terrier - Spring 2022

"If you are interested in railway relics, I would highly recommend this book, and once again, mention must be made of the quality of production, with 268 glossy pages, a worthy addition to the publishers’ growing catalogue."

Family and Community Historical Research Society Newsletter, Volume 23, February 2022

"A fascinating and enlightening read in its successful attempt to open up corners of long lost railway history and is highly recommended."

Heritage Railway Magazine, No290, Feb/March 2022

"This is a gem of a book which readers will find fascinating"

East Kent Railways Members Journal

"A good overall effort with quality research".

Steam World - January 2022

A most enjoyable book looking at various unfinished lines throughout the country. The reviewer found the first chapter on the Cranbrook & Paddock Wood Railway particularly interesting and that section nicely sets the scene for the rest of the book. Highly recommended to anyone who is remotely interested in the subject to find out what might or could have been.

Peter A. Harding - Branch Line & Light railway Publications.

"I can thoroughly recommend this book as I like the way Mark gives the social history and background to each of the projects which really makes it come alive. It is written in a very readable non-technical manner."

Gardner Crawley - RVR The Phoenix Issue 98 001

This is a book that will draw you in and will almost certainly be kept for future reference especially if you plan to check out some of these lines on your travels in the future.

Dana Wiffen - RVR The Phoenix Issue 98 001

"This book is helpful if you plan to walk any of the routes mentioned and even if you don’t it is an fascinating browse. A welcome addition to railway literature!"

York Model Engineers Newsletter - January 2022

As featured in

Kent Messenger (Weald)

As featured in: 'Cranbrook Station Plan Ran Out of Steam'

Kent Messenger (Maidstone)

As featured in

Kent Messenger (Malling)

"This book will draw you in and almost certainly will be kept for reference, especially if you plan to check out some of these lines on your future travels."

The Colonel Stephens Society

This is a great collection covering unfinished railways across the country. Including those in London.

This book will be useful for both the general interest as well as those who want more detailed information

This is an excellent book, well illustrated and highly recommended

James Simmonds

About Mark Yonge

Mark Yonge, spent most of his working life in the agrochemical industry and latterly was involved in weed control, particularly on railways.
With the advent of strict environmental legislation, he won a top Railtrack Award for innovation with his design for a rail mounted spraying vehicle which fitted with GPS navigation, prevented the contamination of water courses.
As a keen historian, he supported the Kent & East Railway, once as chairman and was a founder member of the Rother Valley Railway. His written work indicates a fascination for railways that were never completed and the complex historic affairs of this fascinating industry.

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