Last week we set you 50 tricky road-based quiz questions to help you pass the time in our lockdown quiz. This week... the answers!
How well did you do? It turns out the quiz was a bit harder than we thought - but the messages, tweets and comments we've received so far suggest that even those of you who found it tough going have enjoyed the challenge.
If you're still stuck on some of the questions, suffer no longer. Here are the answers, with links to more information across the website for further reading. Here we go!
Round 1: Pick a Number
Ten clues to ten numbered roads somewhere in the UK. Some were more obscure than others, some were more guessable than others!
- I didn’t exist at all between 1935 and 1989, and my route today is completely different to my original home. According to the rules, I’m in the wrong zone, but I do at least meet the motorway that shares my number.
A42. The road’s original route was between Reading and Oxford, but it only existed there between 1922 and 1935. It then didn’t exist at all until 1989, when it came into being as the continuation of the M42 towards Nottingham.
- My number was swapped with that of another road a long time ago. The other road’s number wasn’t very important, and mine was wanted to make a more impressive-sounding main road to the South West.
A303. It was originally an obscure urban road near Wandsworth, but its number was swapped with the A3036 to create the modern main road from Hampshire to Devon.
- In the 1980s someone made a motorway version of me hundreds of miles away in Lancashire. I’m not sure why, because I’m not in Lancashire and I never have been; I’m actually the inner ring road in a city.
A601. This is the number for the Derby Inner Ring Road, but for some reason in the 1980s someone decided to create the entirely unrelated A601(M) a very long way away.
- Bob Dylan took a journey on me to reach a ferry - there’s a famous picture of him standing on the slipway, and I was the only road that could have taken him there. I became a lot less important when the ferry was replaced with a suspension bridge.
B4055. This is the road to what used to be the ferry across the River Severn at Aust. In 1966 Bob Dylan was photographed on the ferry slipway as he waited to cross. The picture is on the cover of his album No Direction Home. The ferry service was replaced with the M4 Severn Bridge, now part of the M48.
- You’ll find me orbiting a capital city, but I’m not yet the perfect ring road - my four-digit number sounds unimportant and I don’t join up in the middle.
A4232. The road forms most of a ring road for Cardiff, except for a gap in the south-east.
- I’m the motorway spur that has a motorway spur, and I stop for a roundabout in the middle.
A627(M). This little spur from the M62 has an unnumbered spur motorway of its own to Slattocks, and stops for a signalised roundabout where it meets the M62.
- I’m a piece of motorway history, and one of my road signs was in the Highway Code for years and years - but I no longer exist.
M10. For many years a sign pointing to the M10 at Park Street Roundabout was used as the example of an advance direction sign in the Highway Code. These days the sign is still there, and even still called Park Street Roundabout, but the places and road numbers have been changed to fictional ones. The M10 was downgraded in 2009 and is now part of the A414.
- What did Salford, Bolton and Blackburn do to be cursed with a number like this?
A666. The road from Salford to Bolton and Blackburn carries the "number of the beast".
- My catchy number once belonged to a bypass in North London, but now I’m a much newer road in the north of England. I’ll take you to the airport, if you like, or out shopping with the rich and famous.
A555. Once this was the Barnet Bypass, which is now part of the A1. The number is today used for the Manchester Airport Eastern Link Road near Stockport, which passes the pricey shops favoured by the well-to-do residents of Cheadle.
- Join me at my starting point to ride on the back of a swine. Stick with me all the way and I’ll take you to the spire of an ancient Cathedral city, through the forest and then to the seaside.
A31. The road runs along a ridge called the Hog’s Back near Guildford before reaching Winchester, the New Forest and Bournemouth.
Round 2: Picture This
Ten pictures from somewhere on the website. Did you find them all? Here they are, with links to the originals.
- The western terminus of the M65, Preston. It's taken from our collection of M65 Construction Photos - to be specific, it's this one.
- The A131 at Bulmer Tye, Essex. The blanked-out sign might have given you a clue that it was central to the whole picture - we visited in 2017 to see the Accident Black Spot signs.
- It's the A465, and specifically, the magnificently difficult to photograph Taf Fechan Bridge near Merthyr Tydfil. It's from our feature on the Heads of the Valleys Road.
- The A441 at Headless Cross, Redditch, but that wasn't the focus of the picture. In the distance is the cloverleaf interchange that we featured in a 2018 blog post.
- It's the A82's handsome bridge over the river Etive, from the story of the A82 across Rannoch Moor.
- The Queensway Tunnel under the Mersey, seen here under construction in the 1930s, from our extensive feature.
- Was this the most difficult of all the pictures? It's the A40 in the pretty village of West Wycombe, from our 2018 tour of the whole A40.
- St John’s Wood High Street, of course, home to the 3D zebra crossing.
- A picture of something that isn't there: it's the never-built Camden Town Bypass.
- A tricky one to finish: this almost-anonymous street is Charter Way, linking the A406 North Circular and A598 Regent’s Park Road, one of London's Forgotten Arterial Roads.
Round 3: Tricky Trivia
With the right search terms and a bit of clever browsing these shouldn't have been too much trouble... or did you decide not to take any shortcuts?
- Which village’s name is sometimes used by highway engineers to refer to the four level stack interchange?
There are only three four level stacks and you'll find the answer on our page about them. It's Almondsbury, where the first four-level stack was built.
- Name a font or style of lettering that was developed for use on UK road signs but never used.
Transport Light, developed by Jock Kinneir, designed to accompany Transport Medium and Transport Heavy. It gets a brief, sneaky mention in our FAQ. If you said the serif lettering developed by David Kindersley, that’s not right, because it’s widely used on street name plates across the UK.
- Something was stolen from under Transport Minister Tom Fraser's nose. What?
A search for Tom Fraser should have turned up the story where a number of Motorwarn signals were stolen from the M4 on the day he was due to reveal them to the press.
- In which town can you find a flyover that destroyed Old Town and another that locals nicknamed the “Berlin Wall”?
Croydon. Both are part of the ill-fated and much hated Croydon Ring Road.
- Which road was home to the UK’s first speed camera?
The A316 at Twickenham Bridge. The story of how it came to be - and the incredible number of people it caught - is in our article on speed limits.
- Name a road that is subject to a “ghost toll”.
"Ghost tolls" are explained in the Dictionary. You could have almost any road subject to a DBFO agreement. These include the M1 J42-47, A1(M) Alconbury-Peterborough and the M40.
- Where’s the underground car park that helped to build the M4?
We wrote about this odd story back in 2018. It's beneath Hyde Park.
- What connects Whiteley, Meon, Titchfield and Fareham?
Put any of those in the site's search box and you'd have been reminded that they're all suggested names for the never-built service area at M27 junction 9.
- Which motorway was used for a Thunderbirds stunt?
The M40, of course. It was one of our ten things you never knew about the M40.
- Which Expressway narrows to a single carriageway to cross the sea?
The A55 North Wales Expressway narrows to a single carriageway at the Britannia Bridge to cross the Menai Strait, a narrow channel of sea water separating the mainland from Anglesey.
Round 4: Off the Map
Ten extracts from SABRE Maps, showing places on the road network that have changed over the years.
- It’s M1 J42, the M62 interchange in West Yorkshire, seen in 1970 with the M62 still under construction.
- This is Hucclecote, just east of Gloucester, in 1973. M5 J11a is now located on the right, and you can see part of the Gloucester Ring Road under construction at the top.
- M6 J15, south of Stoke, seen in 1964 when it was brand new. Before the A500 came along this spur road was the A5006.
- South West London in 1922, on an official MOT map of road numbers. The Great West Road is still under construction, making a gap in the A4 that will be plugged when the road opens.
- M6 J29, seen in 1961. This is Bamber Bridge, the southern end of the Preston Bypass, Britain’s first motorway, several years before it was joined by the rest of the M6.
- Seen on the OS New Popular Edition maps of the 1940s, this is Scotch Corner on the A1, with the A66 leading away to the left.
- More river than road - this is the ferry that carried the A15 across the Humber, seen in the 1950s. Kingston-upon-Hull is on the north bank of the river at the top.
- The A580 at Swinton, west of Manchester, in 1968. The dotted line was then the M62 under construction, but is now the M60. You can see the temporary end of the M62 Stretford-Eccles Bypass sneaking on to the bottom of the map.
- This extract from 1970 is probably the trickiest one. It’s the A55 at St Asaph/Llanelwy in North Wales, and looks very different today, as this short bypass has become part of a long distance expressway.
- This is the Maidstone Bypass in 1961, with its distinctive unfinished trumpet junction on the left. Award yourself a bonus point if you recognised that it was, at this time, the A20(M) and not yet the M20!
Round 5: Missing Links
To finish off, here are ten clues to things that don’t exist - or, perhaps, don’t exist any more. You can find them all somewhere on the website. Can you work out what long-lost thing is being hinted at? (Points will be deducted from anyone laughing at the questionable standard of poetry.)
- Twenty miles of metalwork
The road is split in two
A badger’s name, a queuing quirk
To help the trucks get through
Operation Brock. Twenty miles of temporary crash barrier divided the M20’s Londonbound carriageway for a temporary lorry parking scheme. Brock is an old English word for a badger.
- I could help you over the street
An animal black and white
But no-one knew when to use their feet
When they faced my pulsing light
Panda Crossings. A short-lived 1960s idea for a new type of pedestrian crossing; the odd flashing and "pulsing" light sequences were too confusing for most road users.
- An idea to help where the tunnels are tight
And the traffic is more stop than go
But the cost was too high and the birds would take flight
So the minister’s answer was no
The M4 Newport Relief Road, binned in 2019 after years of planning work due to costs the Welsh Assembly Government considered unaffordable and environmental concerns over rare wetland habitats.
- I’d stop you when you went to cross
On each trip back and forth
My absence was a welcome loss
For journeys south and north
The tolls on the Forth Road Bridge, abolished in 2008 - along with all other Scottish bridge and tunnel tolls. Surely the mention of "forth" gave it away?
- I was just the thing
But my fame took some knocks
Am I really a ring
If they call me a box?
Ringway 1, otherwise known as the London Motorway Box, was London’s never-built inner ring motorway.
- Everywhere in every part of town
A yellow sign, blue and red marking
Now almost all are taken down, but
Yellow stripes still stop you from parking
Yellow no parking “at any time” signs used to be required to accompany any double yellow line, and were one of the commonest signs on the UK road network, but since the 2000s they have not been needed and most are now gone. We mentioned them in passing a few years ago.
- Join me crossing a northern town
Hills and valleys far from the sea
From my lower deck it’s a long way down
But my upstairs was never to be
Burdock Way in Halifax, which has a high level viaduct over the town, but its second upper level was never built.
- Take a walk on East Street
You won’t get very far
My ends no longer meet
Since I gained my nasty scar
East Street Bridge over the M20, accidentally demolished by an errant excavator arm in 2016 and not yet replaced.
- Deep underground below water and land
A terrible place for signals and jam
The way out to the north’s long since banned
From the road we address with curtseys as ma’am
The Rendell Street branch from the Queensway Tunnel in Birkenhead, closed to traffic in the 1960s when its underground signalised junction with the main tunnel could no longer be operated safely with steeply rising traffic volumes.
- High up in the air
Named for forces of war
I used to run both ways
Now I’m down on the floor
The Army and Navy Flyover in Chelmsford, a single-lane structure that operated in different directions according to traffic demand, which was structurally unsound and recently demolished.
That's all 50 - how did you do? Let us know your score in the comments.
As it stands your explanation of Q10 is incorrect as the A31 has never gone to Bournemouth, it goes to Wimborne and Bere Regis, many miles inland.
But I'd argue that the question itself is still just about valid, because the road does 'take you to the seaside' in that you'd probably use some of the A31 when going to Bournemouth (or Weymouth, or Swanage...).
I got a nice round 30/50. Interestingly, I managed to get 8/10 on each of rounds 1, 2 & 5 but only 3/10 on 3 & 4. I think that's what we call clear strengths and weaknesses.
In No 4, the B4055 was not the only road to the Aust Ferry, with the B4461 making an alternative link from the A38. I chose the wrong one.
Top knowledge! That's an oversight on my part - have the point!
That's some impressive road knowledge. I got 0/50.