23 April 2016


Lots of people have a lucky number. But did you know that some numbers are, themselves, lucky?

On the British road network, the number 42 is lucky. There used to be an A42 running north from Reading, but it was renumbered into oblivion in the early 1930s, and only ever existed for about twelve years. It floated in the void for decades. Then, in the 1980s, it was resurrected, brought back from beyond the brink, to form the A42, part of a major inter-city route across the Midlands. That's lucky.

The number 11 might not seem especially lucky. There's the M11, of course, the motorway north from London to Cambridge, and there the number 11 enjoys great importance, even if its existence is a bit mundane and the road it represents is not especially well-loved. But how lucky that the number 11 gets a second attempt at fame, because as well as the M11, there's also the A11, a completely separate route branching off the M11 and running through delightful countryside to the fine county of Norfolk and the handsome city of Norwich.

Unlike the motorway of the same number, the road isn't mundane, it's not heavy with impatient commuter traffic and taxi runs to the airport, it's not old and in need of work. In fact it's refreshingly fast, varied and impressively new. And the thing that makes the A11 particularly lucky is that, as of today, it has its own entry in the Motorway Database, complete with a list of its opening dates and a strip-map of all its junctions. Some roads have all the luck.

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