Magazine and Books. The club publishes a quarterly magazine of news and reports, which is distributed free of charge to members. Additionally, several members, including Chairman Jeff Vinter and Vice Chairman Mark Jones, have published a number of books on the subject of walking old railways. Mark's Discovering Britain's First Railways was published in June 2012 (click here), while Jeff's new, enlarged and illustrated gazetteer of railway walks throughout the British Isles was published in May 2011 (click here). Julian Holland's The Lost Lines of Britain hit the shelves on 31 October 2010 (click here).

In addition, Jeff's Railway Walks books were re-printed between April and October 2009 by The History Press. Each book has been re-set and given a new look, plus an expanded appendix of official railway walks that brings the situation right up to date. The various titles are available as listed below and can be ordered directly from the author at half price – including free p&p – by following the link here. Copies can also be obtained online or from high street bookshops, although stocks are now running out.

  • Railway Walks: Wales - published in April 2009 and now sold out
  • Railway Walks: GWR & SR - published in July 2009 (re-printed January 2012) and now sold out
  • Railway Walks: LNER - published in August 2009
  • Railway Walks: LMS - published in October 2009

Jeff is pleased to report that the original books contained very few errors of fact, but those that have come to light have been corrected. It was not possible to re-visit every single walk in the series due to serious time constraints caused by work commitments. However, the books are now back in print, and further writing commissions are planned for the future. The first of these is listed below, and it should provide a huge promotional boost to railway paths throughout Great Britain and Ireland ...



Right: Mark Jones's latest book explores the history of railways before steam power turned them into the transport revolution that changed the world. The earliest railways were tramways, horse drawn affairs which were developed to transport minerals from mines and quarries far more efficiently than contemporary roads ever could. Mark traces their development from the earliest examples in the 1600s to 'The Dramway', the Avon & Gloucester Railway, which was the last tramway to be built in these islands before the railway revolution made them anachronistic. He uncovers a little-known network of over 1,500 miles of these routes, and includes a regional guide to where their remains can be found and explored today.

  • You can order your own copy, signed by the author, direct from Mark Jones, 19 School Lane, Brinscall, Chorley, Lancashire, PR6 8QS.
  • The price of £10.99 includes £1 for post and packing (to UK addresses only) – remember that online stores often add a greater p&p charge than this, and none supply copies signed by the author.
  • Please make cheques and postal orders payable to 'Mark Jones'.
  • Most orders are despatched by return, but allow 7-10 days for delivery.

Please note that this offer applies to UK addresses only. If you require delivery overseas, please contact us by e-mail for a quotation.

Left: Vinter's Railway Gazetteer is now SOLD OUT, but a much enlarged new edition is in preparation with a publication date of Spring 2017. Further details will appear here in due course.

In the meantime, we can report that the new edition will bring the railway path listings right up to date across the British Isles (many new routes have opened since the first edition was published in 2011), and it will also include a number of articles on subjects related to railway paths generally. The number of illustrations will be more than doubled, with the colour section containing four times as many photographs.

The new edition will be published by The History Press, and the author intends to see if a discount on the cover price can be arranged for members of the club, as with the first edition. Watch this space!

Right: The Lost Lines of Britain (256 pp, hb.) was published by the AA in October 2010. The book includes 42 routes all over the UK that can be walked or cycled and features lots of 'then and now' photos, old Ordnance Survey maps of the routes, line histories and walk descriptions. The routes vary from obvious candidates like the Camel Trail in Cornwall to more obscure lines such as the Lochaber Narrow Gauge Railway around the lower slopes of the Nevis range near Fort William. The author's personal favourites are the Lochaber line and the old Princetown branch on Dartmoor, but he does admit that you need good weather for both of these!

This book can be ordered from Amazon by clicking the link here. AA Publishing has changed the cover (it is now in Southern Railway green), but the main picture is the same. Amazon is offering the book at one half of the RRP of £25 with free p&p if you choose 'super saver' delivery – that's a good offer by any standards.

Left: Railway Walks: LNER (208 pp, pb.) looks at the area once covered by the former London & North Eastern Railway, ranging from the high Durham moors to the rustic byways of East Anglia, where light passenger loadings condemned a number of lines to closure before Dr. Beeching was appointed to wield his axe. Each walk is illustrated with present day and archive photographs, and includes a thorough history followed by details of what to look for now. An appendix lists useful organisations, while the book concludes with a gazetteer of those old lines in the region which can now be walked and, in some cases, cycled with official blessing. This is a revelation and shows just how much local authorities and other public bodies have done to bring back parts of the country's lost railway heritage into everyday use.

  • You can order your own copy, signed by the author, direct from Jeff Vinter, 1 Victoria  Road, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 7HY.
  • The price of £7.49 includes post and packing (to UK addresses only).
  • Please make cheques and postal orders payable to 'Jeff Vinter'.
  • Most orders are despatched by return, but allow 7-10 days for delivery.

Please note that this offer applies to UK addresses only. If you require delivery overseas, please contact us by e-mail for a quotation.

Right: Railway Walks: LMS (208 pp, pb.) is devoted to the area once served by the London, Midland & Scottish Railway, and takes in a wide range of lines ranging from the Midland Railway's majestically engineered route through the Peak District (now the Monsal Trail) to minor branch lines that once served the Ironbridge Gorge, the cradle of the Industrial Revolution. Along the way, Josias Jessop's extraordinary Cromford & High Peak Railway is explored – a line built on canal principles with level sections connected by inclines – together with quiet railway byways dotted around the region that now enjoy use as traffic-free recreational routes. An appendix lists useful organisations in the area, while the gazetteer of official railway walks has been brought completely up to date. As with other titles in the series, this makes a good armchair read or can be used as an excellent handbook for exploring this rather different aspect of the English countryside.

  • Price and order details are as above (click here), but please state clearly which title(s) you require.

Vinter's Railway Gazetteer
For anyone who wants to get out and actually walk some old railways, a new, enlarged and illustrated edition of this invaluable gazetteer was published in May 2011 – for further details, either scroll up or click the link here. Details of railway paths throughout the UK are also available as follows:

  • By joining this club. An online version of the gazetteer, which is completely up-to-date, is available as an inclusive benefit to members. For further details, click the link here.
  • By purchasing the Railway Walks books listed above. Each title includes a regional list of walks, fully up-to-date as at April 2009.

Bibliography. A bibliography listing just about everything that has been published on old railways (as a specific subject) appears below. However, this does not include books about individual lines, which generally are histories that give little, if any, coverage of the lines after closure.


The club is frequently asked for details of books which describe walking old railways, or the history of railway closures. As far as we are aware, the following bibliography is comprehensive, but we would be pleased to hear of any omissions. ISBN numbers are provided so that visitors to this site can order the books from local libraries, if they wish.

Please note that this list does not include details of books about 'forgotten railways' or individual branch lines, since such titles are not specifically about walking old railways. Besides, if we included such details here, this list would become unwieldy and extremely long.

  • ab Elis, Rhys, Railway Rights of Way (pb, 120pp, b&w illus, plus 3 separate appendices), Branch Line Society, 1985, no ISBN number. Original copies of this invaluable guide are now collectors' items, but fortunately an updated version of the entire work is now available on CD: click here for further details and search for 'Railway Rights of Way'.
  • Atterbury, Paul, Along Lost Lines (hb, 256pp, illus), David & Charles, 2007, ISBN 9780715325681.
  • Atterbury, Paul, Discovering Britain's Lost Railways (hb, 159pp, b&w and colour illus), AA Publishing, 1995, ISBN 07495104555
  • Bathurst, David, Walking the Disused Railways of Sussex (pb, 131pp, b&w illus), SB Publications, 2004, ISBN 9781857702927
  • Burton, Anthony, Walking the Line (hb, 192pp, b&w and colour illus), Blandford Press, 1985, ISBN 0713715545
  • Cockman, F.G., Discovering Lost Railways, Shire Publications, 1973-1980, ISBN 0852634927. (Later editions of this book are available as well.)
  • Daniels, Gerald, and Dench, Les, Passengers No More (hb, 144pp, b&w illus), Ian Allan, 1980, ISBN 0711009511. A gazetteer of railway closures, listed by line and station name. (This book was designed as a companion to Ian Allan's British Railways Pre Grouping Atlas, which depicts Britain's railway network as at 31 December 1922.)
  • Davies, Hunter, A Walk Along the Tracks (2nd edition, pb, 196pp, b&w illus), Dent, 1993, ISBN 0460860992
  • Ellison, M.H., Scottish Railway Walks (pb, 192pp, b&w illus), Cicerone Press, 1989, ISBN 1852840072
  • Emett, Charlie, Walking Northern Railways, Volume One: East (pb, 159pp, b&w illus), Cicerone Press, 1986, ISBN 090236376X
  • Emett, Charlie, Walking Northern Railways, Volume Two: West (pb, 234pp, b&w illus), Cicerone Press, 1989, ISBN 1852840064
  • Hemery, Eric, Walking the Dartmoor Railroads (pb, 144pp, b&w illus), Peninsula Press, 1991, ISBN 1872640125
  • Holland, Julian, The Lost Lines of Britain (hb, 256pp, b&w and colour illus), AA Publishing, 31 October 2010, ISBN 978-0749566302
  • Lewis, Stephen, Boots on the Line - Walking 1000 Miles of Britain's Dismantled Railways (pb, 364pp, illus), True to Line Publications, 2007, ISBN 0955723604
  • Lovett Jones, Gareth, Railway Walks - Exploring Disused Railways (hb, 288pp, b&w illus), David & Charles, 1983, ISBN 0715385437
  • Jones, Mark, Discovering Britain's First Railways – A Guide to Horse-Drawn Tramroads and Waggonways (pb, 144pp, b&w and colour illus.), The History Press, 2012, ISBN 978-0752462738
  • Searle, Muriel V., Lost Lines, (hb, 208pp, b&w illus), New Cavendish Books, 1982, ISBN 0904568415
  • Somerville, Christopher, Walking Old Railways (hb, 144pp, b&w illus), David & Charles, 1979, ISBN 0715376810
  • Christopher Somerville, Walking West Country Railways (hb, 112pp, b&w illus), David & Charles, 1982, ISBN 0715381431
  • Turnock, David, Railways in the British Isles (hb, 256pp, b&w illus), David St. John Thomas, 1990, ISBN 0946537542
  • Vinter, Jeff, Railway Walks: GWR & SR (pb, 204pp, b&w and colour illus), The History Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0752451039
  • Vinter, Jeff, Railway Walks: LMS (pb, 192pp, b&w and colour illus), The History Press, 2009, ISBN 0752451046 (to be re-published in October 2009)
  • Vinter, Jeff, Railway Walks: LNER (pb, 208pp, b&w and colour illus), The History Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0752451053
  • Vinter, Jeff, Railway Walks: Wales (pb, 208pp, b&w and colour illus), The History Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0752449340
  • Vinter, Jeff, The Taff Trail Official Guidebook (pb, 128pp, colour illus), Sutton Publishing, 1993, ISBN 0750903414
  • Vinter, Jeff, Vinter's Railway Gazetteer (pb, 168pp, b&w and colour illus.), The History Press, 2011, ISBN 978-0752460116
  • Wham, Alasdair, Borders Railway Rambles (pb, 94pp, b&w illus), Stenlake Publishing, 2004, ISBN 9781840332896
  • Wham, Alasdair, Edinburgh and Lothians: Exploring the Lost Railways (pb, 152pp, b&w illus), GC Books, 2006, ISBN 9781872350141
  • Wham, Alasdair, The Lost Railway Lines of Ayrshire (pb, 80pp, b&w illus), GC Books, 1997, ISBN 1872350275
  • Wham, Alasdair, The Lost Railway Lines of Galloway (pb, 72pp, b&w illus), GC Books, 1996, ISBN 1872350968
  • Wham, Alasdair, The Lost Railway Lines South of Glasgow (pb, 103pp, b&w illus), GC Books, 2000, ISBN 1872350089
  • Wham, Alasdair, Trossachs and West Highlands: Exploring the Lost Railways (pb, 141pp, b&w illus), GC Books, 2009, ISBN 978187235 – read a review

David Turnock’s Railways in the British Isles is the most academic study of old railways, but a great deal of factual and historical information can be gleaned from all of the above titles.

Two major studies of old railways have been commissioned by the government:

  • The Appleton Report in the 1970s
  • The Grimshaw Report in the 1980s

The Appleton Report was disappointing and did little more than state the obvious by listing and categorising what remained on the ground. However, the Grimshaw Report set out detailed proposals for the re-use of many disused lines in a series of 32 separate ‘annexes’. The organisation which produced the Grimshaw Report metamorphosed into Sustrans Ltd., the Bristol-based path-building charity, and many of the proposals in the report's annexes have now been turned into successful railway paths throughout the UK. In fact, some now form part of the National Cycle Network.

If your appetite for books on old railways has still not been satisfied, you could try the 11 titles in the David & Charles' Forgotten Railways series, or the same publisher's 14 volume Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain, although this deals with all lines, whether closed or open. Since the 1980s, a number of 'Then and Now' books have also been published, some of the most popular being by Mac Hawkins, who goes to extraordinary lengths to return to the exact spot where a period photograph was taken, even if it means hiring special equipment to regain the height afforded by a demolished railway structure such as a signal or footbridge. Mac's books The Great Central Then and Now and The Somerset & Dorset Railway Then and Now are particularly recommended.