Thursday, 31 May 2007

Featured web-links 4 - SABRE: The Society for All British Road Enthusiasts

Are you the sort of person who can tell the difference between a GATSO and a TOTSO? Do you know what the Cumberland Gap is - and do you care desperately about the speed at which it is being closed? Or perhaps you've wondered, as you've driven into London from Kent, why the bit of the A2 heading into town looks like a motorway but for some mysterious reason isn't.

If so, this one could be for you. The SABRE website is a mine of valuable information on just about everything to do with British Roads and its forums provide plenty of lively debate. There are links to just about every other decent site about UK roads as well.

SABRE isn't one of those rather tediously blinkered pro-motorist or pro-road building groups. It doesn't have an official anti-roads or pro-roads line - it's more about documenting and discussing what's out there. After all, if Britain bit the bullet and provided proper motorways for all of its main trunk connections as many other European countries do, a lot of the charming anomolies and special features of the British road scene would just disappear, and life would be that bit more boring for those of us who spend a lot of time behind the wheel.

Incidentally, a GATSO is a speed camera while TOTSO stands for 'turn off to stay on'; this refers to a junction arrangement that requires a driver following a particular route number to turn off. An example can be found on the A14 near Cambridge where drivers heading west have to 'turn off to stay on' the A14 towards Huntingdon, otherwise they find themselves on the A428 going towards Bedford. The Cumberland Gap is a notoriously jam-prone section of the A74 at the England-Scotland border between the northern end of the M6 and the southern end of the M74/A74(M). After one or two false starts, it is at long last being upgraded to motorway standard. As for the question of why Britain has so many roads that look and feel like motorways but aren't, there is no clear-cut answer to that - get over to SABRE and debate the different theories!

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