London 2012: Olympic Torch Relay Rehearsal Set For Friday

Posted: 17/04/2012 17:07 Updated: 17/04/2012 17:07   PA

Olympics

The London 2012 Olympics torch relay is to be put to the test during a rehearsal later this week.

Hundreds of people will be taking part in the test, which will be a full operational dress rehearsal of a single day of the relay, which begins next month.

The Olympic flame arrives in the UK on May 18 and begins its 70-day journey at Land's End, Cornwall, on the morning of May 19.

The rehearsal this Friday will test the timings, convoy movement, radio communications, traffic management and security operations of the relay, which will see the flame pass through 1,018 UK places, as well as visiting Dublin, in its journey to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on July 27.

The rehearsal event will take place on the Leicester to Peterborough route. The actual Olympic torch will pass along this route on day 46 of the relay, on July 3.

Some 122 participants chosen from the local area, including from universities, will be acting as torchbearers during Friday's rehearsal and 15 vehicles will travel in convoy.

They will join a crew of 450 people who will be taking part in the rehearsal event.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Locog) chose this part of the route for the rehearsal as it allowed them to test the technicalities of the torch travelling on trains and boats and going through a city and pedestrianised areas.

On Friday, the torchbearers will travel by steam train on the Great Central Railway and Nene Valley Railway and will simulate the torch being passed between two boats, a Warrior and a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB), on Rutland Water.

Locog said it is anticipated that the Olympic flame will arrive into Dover harbour by Tall Ship during the actual event. The flame may also travel on helicopter or on RNLI lifeboats.

The Leicester to Peterborough route begins at The National Space Centre in Leicester. Rehearsal torchbearers will travel by steam train on the Great Central Railway from the city to Quorn.

From there, they will go on to Loughborough and travel through Hoton, Wymeswold, Melton Mowbray, Langham and Oakham in Rutland.

Then at Whitwell Harbour rehearsal torchbearers will be taken across Rutland Water on an RIB where a torch will be passed across to a Warrior ship.

From there the party will travel on to Uppingham and Stamford before torchbearers board another steam train on the Nene Valley Railway to Orton Mere Station to end the day in Peterborough.

Police forces from Leicestershire and Cambridgeshire have worked closely with the Metropolitan Police to ensure the event is safely managed.

Some 200 road marshals will be managing traffic in Leicestershire with rolling roadblocks being used.

Drivers are being asked to avoid travelling on the route itself and affected properties and businesses have been informed of the event.

Mark Honeybunn, Olympic torch relay advance manager, Locog, said: "The rehearsal is so important because we want to make sure we get it right for the Olympic torch relay taking place later this summer.

"It's to ensure our teams are match fit for that and the Leicester to Peterborough days is technically challenging and it gives us a great exposure to alternative modes of transport, photo moments as well as torchbearers exchanging the flame along the route."

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Filed by Charlie Lindlar  |