M40 motorway

From Academic Kids

The M40 motorway is the second motorway in the British transport network to connect London to Birmingham. The first part of the motorway was built in the 1960s and connected London to the A40 at Stokenchurch at the top of the Chiltern scarp, some miles west of High Wycombe. There was then a prolonged debate on how best to extend the motorway down onto the Oxford plain. It was not until 1990 that the second section, linking Oxford to Birmingham, was completed.

The M40 motorway hit the headlines on 18th November 1993. The previous night a minibus, carrying 15 pupils from Hagley R.C High School in Worcestershire back from a concert at the Albert Hall in London, crashed on the motorway near Warwick after the teacher driving the minibus allegedly fell asleep at the wheel. Ten pupils and the teacher died at the scene; an eleventh pupil died in hospital two days later from their injuries. Four other pupils survived and made a full recovery. The tragedy resulted in seatbelts becoming compulsory equipment on all buses and coaches, although it is still not compulsory for them to be worn.

Route of the M40

The M40 begins at the Denham Roundabout near Uxbridge just east of the M25 and finishes at the M42 near Birmingham.

Junctions are as follows

An anecdote

The fact that the M40 led from London to Oxford and the M11 from London to Cambridge led to a famous sketch in one episode of the BBC's sitcom Yes, Minister. Jim Hacker, a Government minister and a lead character in the show, pondered why Britain had fast motorways to these ancient university towns but not to important seaports such as Dover and Felixstowe. Sir Humphrey Appleby, his Permanent Private Secretary, explained that the motorway network had been designed by civil servants, all of whom had been educated at one university or the other. The general Civil Service attitude can be summed up by Sir Humphrey's expostulation in another episode: "Of course I believe in universities, Minister: both of them!"

See also

no:M40 (motorvei)


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