More seats on trains for Glastonbury Festival

Intercity Record Train
Credit: GWR

Michael Eavis named Intercity Express Train to carry festival travellers for the first time.

GWR will be providing almost 40% more seats for this year’s Glastonbury Festival but are still warning travellers that reservations are booking up fast.

The festival will also be served by a very special train this year, named after festival founder Michael Eavis.

Michael was nominated as one of GWRs 100 Great Westerners to have an Intercity Express Train named after him which took place at a ceremony earlier in the year.

For 2019, over 200 trains will serve Castle Cary. They will be shuttling passengers to and from stations across the South West, and with new Intercity Express Trains now in full service, the train operator will provide almost 30,000 more seats than in 2017.

So, why are trains selling out?

Extra trains are being laid on, in addition to usual timetable services, but many festival goers want to arrive early afternoon on Wednesday and Thursday. This means that reservations for services departing late morning on Wednesday and Thursday are filling up fast.

GWR is advising people to travel down early morning or mid-afternoon for the most comfortable journey. This is due to trains being less in demand. They are also advising reserving seats before travel.

Will I have to queue?

To ensure people, many of which will have quite sizeable bags, boards trains safely and efficiently a queuing system will be in place at London Paddington.

On arrival at Castle Cary, customers will have to traverse a steep overbridge to get to the station exit and for the free connecting shuttle bus service to the festival site.

What are the best times to go home on Monday?

Of the 210 trains that will serve this year’s festival almost 30% of them are to take revellers home on Monday, but peak travel times are often weather dependent.

If you have spent four days in welly boots and waterproofs, many people choose to travel home earlier rather than later.

But remember you will have to adhere to the restrictions of your ticket or upgrade. Those with Off-Peak fares will not be able to travel before approximately 0830 on Monday morning.

Additional trains will be running on Sunday.

On Monday, the first train to depart Castle Cary is at 0516, and the last to leave at 2245.

If you have been able to swap wellies for flip flops and sunnies, the station is busiest between 0700 and 1000, and passengers may have to queue for up to an hour.

For the comfort of everyone, please make sure you aren’t too muddy before travelling. A welly wash is available at the station, and shoe covers if you need them.

What can I bring on board?

Only bring what you can carry:  Space is limited and there is a connecting bus service from Castle Cary to the festival site – if your luggage cannot fit up the stairs at Castle Cary, onto the connecting coach it may have to be left behind (Do not bring shopping trolleys; wheelie bins or excessively sized items

How can I make my journey less stressful?

  • Charge your phone: While Castle Cary station and the festival site itself will offer mobile phone charging, to prevent you from being delayed, or from holding up others, remember to charge your phone if you have purchased an electronic ticket. Remember you can save money booking in advance using our phone app
  • Remember your railcard: Young Person’s discounted tickets are only valid with a supporting Young Person’s Railcard. If you leave it at home you may have to pay to upgrade your ticket
  • Reserve a seat: Why not take the stress out of travelling by knowing that you have a reserved seat, and a specific train? GWR offers reservations on many of its services towards Castle Cary, including all of those departing from London Paddington. Unfortunately trains provided for the return journey are offered on a first come, first served basis.

Going green

Give yourself a pat on the back for going green. The average train journey produces a whopping 57-58% less carbon dioxide than driving, making it the eco-friendly way to arrive.

As well as cutting down on CO2, you can also help the farm by only using the toilets provided and not going on the land; putting litter in the provided recycling and rubbish bins; bringing along reusable water bottles and filling up from the 120 water points; and clearing up your campsite and taking everything home.

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Emma Holden avatar
I have been around trains at heritage railways all my life. In particular, the narrow gauge trains in Wales, and spent many Duncan days at the Talyllyn Railway when I was younger. I have been a volunteer author for RailAdvent since 2019