|M40 motorway in the UK|
|Overall length:||143.2 km (89 mi )|
|Development condition:||almost entirely six lanes, partly eight lanes|
|The M40 between High Wycombe and Oxford through the Chiltern Hills|
The first part of the M40 was built in the 1960s and connected London to the A40 at Stokenchurch on the top of Chiltern Scarp , a few miles from High Wycombe . On some maps, the original High Wycombe bypass is shown as the A40 (M) instead of the M40. In 1974 the motorway was continued to Chilworth, about 8 miles east of Oxford, with a four-lane continuation into the city. Thus, the mostly four-lane connection between the capital and the university city of Oxford was completed, including about 32 miles of motorway.
At the end of the 1980s, construction began on the continuation to Birmingham in order to relieve the previous motorway connection via the M1 and M6 . First the M42- Warwick connection was opened in 1989 , followed in 1991 by the entire route from Oxford to Warwick. An alternative route had to be chosen east of Oxford to avoid the Otmoor marshland . To date, the Oxford-Birmingham motorway is the last major new motorway to be built in England.
Accident on November 18, 1993
The M40 hit the headlines on November 18, 1993. The night before, a minibus with 15 students from Worcestershire crashed not far from Warwick. The group came from a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The cause of the accident was that the teacher who was driving the bus fell asleep at the wheel. Ten students and the teacher died of their injuries at the scene of the accident, two other students later died in hospital. Only two students survived.
The accident led to seat belts becoming mandatory equipment for buses and coaches, although there has been no obligation to wear seat belts in buses and coaches.
Jim Hacker, a member of the government and protagonist on the series, wondered why Britain has highways to these venerable university towns but not to important seaports like Dover or Felixstowe. Sir Humphrey Appleby, the permanent private secretary, stated that the highway system was developed by civil servants trained at either one university or the other. The officials' opinion, like Sir Humphrey's statement, can be summed up in another episode: "Of course, I believe in universities, Minister: both"
- In the film Thunderbird 6 , the M40, which was not yet released for traffic at the time, represents the fictional M104 motorway.
- The M40 can also be seen in the opening scenes of the film "The Vicar of Dibley", a bird's eye view of the Chiltern scarp (locally known as The Grand Canyon ) and the Oxfordshire countryside.
- In the episode "The Pitch Fork Killer" from the British crime series " Inspector Barnaby " (Season 3, Episode 3) from 2000, the M 40 can be seen on the section between High Wycombe and Oxford in the Chiltern Hills.
- M40 - Highways England. Highways England, accessed January 26, 2020 .
- Chris Marshall: Motorway Database: M40. In: Roads.org.uk. Retrieved January 26, 2020 (English).
- Pathetic Motorways
- The Motorway Archive. M40. Waterstock to Umberslade ( Memento from August 11, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
- Ian MacKinnon: M40 crash driver 'probably fell asleep'. In: The Independent. June 30, 1994, accessed January 26, 2020 .
- Steve Boggan: The M40 Crash: Day trip to disaster for 11 young musicians. In: The Independent. November 19, 1993, accessed January 26, 2020 .
- Seatbelt law still not enough. In: BBC News. November 18, 2003, accessed January 26, 2020 .
- Julia Leonard: Fatal 1993 Hagley school bus crash safety changes 'not enough'. BBC, November 18, 2013, accessed January 26, 2020 .