Papal Visit (Birmingham)
CTM was contracted by WRG to design, implement and manage the transport operation to cater for 80,000 pilgrims attending the Mass. Due to the location of the site and arrival window all Pilgrims had to travel by coach. One of the key challenges was to quickly identify suitable land with the capacity to accommodate over 1,600 coaches. Once the two Park & Walk (P&W) sites were identified, the challenge was to design each to accommodate the number of coaches whilst ensuring the volume of coaches could access each site over a very short time period. The design had to ensure there was clear separation of pedestrians and vehicles and that all coaches were staged in order that they could leave as soon as they were loaded.
Within a very tight timescale each site needed to be surveyed and the infrastructure and civil works required scheduled and managed to ensure each site could be delivered on time. CTM appointed a site management team to build the site under the direction of CTM’s Project Director.
It was critical to the event that Pilgrims’ coaches had a clear and uninterrupted journey from the motorways to each site. This involved installing a large scale road closure operation and temporary parking restrictions. Due to the location of the site and sensitivity of the event, CTM worked closely with the Foreign Office, Catholic Church, Local Authority, Emergency Services and Highways deliver an operation which took all parties’ requirements into account.
The experience for the Pilgrims was central in the planning of the event, therefore it was essential that the Pilgrims were able to easily find their coach when returning to the P&W site. To ensure this, each site was colour coded and each coach aisle was numbered. Meet & Greet personnel boarded each coach as it arrived and advised all passengers of aisle number and colour of the corresponding pedestrian route they should take when returning from the Mass.
The whole operation was a great success with all pilgrims aboard their coaches and away from each site in a 2 hour period.