15 days to go… anyone planning the train? Read on if so!

Only 15 days to go until Glastonbury and we are SO EXCITED!!

If you are planning to go to Glastonbury by train and you have not done it before, then this post is for you! We have got the train many times, from multiple locations. We have had highs, lows and everything in between. And you can never be too prepared… let’s go!

Arrival Day

I’m going to assume you are arriving Wednesday. Most of this information is relevant for Thursday as well, but vast majority of train arrivals are on the Wednesday.

First thing to note – and this one is a teeny bit obvious- but it is busy. And we mean BUSY. Your journey into the fields will be split up into the following 3 main parts:

  1. Getting the train – ok so if you’re traveling from one of the big stations (London, Bristol etc) this is the first time you may encounter a queue. We have done the train before from both London a few times, and Bristol and Bath. Peak time for the trains is Wednesday early morning (surprise surprise…!). From past experience, the very first trains are busy, but manageable- and then it really gets going around 8-9am, and this will also mean you hit the peak of the queue once you get there. One thing to note is that even with an advance ticket, you may need to queue here and may miss your timed train – don’t assume they will let you on just because you have a ticket- if it’s full, it’s full!
    Choosing the right train for you requires a little planning. One tip we have is to forward think it a bit. Once you get to Castle Cary’s small station, you will be put in one giant queue for the shuttle (more on that later) – this is where you need to know your train-emies. Take a look at the schedule and see which trains from other directions arrive around the same time. E.g – If there’s one from the north getting in at 9am, and you are coming from London getting in on the 9.02am, consider a different time. It will not only be 2 minutes – the reality is that the train will get in before you and then take a while to empty out, i.e your train may need to wait outside the station for 5-10 mins just for the platform to empty- then an entire train of people will beat you into the shuttle queue. They could easily have a good 30-45 mins head start on you, just from that 2 min earlier arrival time! So plan carefully. However, you do need to mentally prepare for delays as well. Sometimes you could be that earlier train, but unrelated delay on the line means you get in a bit later, and then have additional queue time (2022 for us wahhh) – this happens unfortunately and cannot be planned for or avoided!!
  2. Getting the shuttle – as mentioned earlier, once you arrive at Castle Cary this is a fairly small station with only a few platforms. You will all be herded off the train and over the bridge into the shuttle car park. This is the second time you will encounter a queue. They generally have 1-2 buses around which they are loading – usually double decker’s or actual coaches. Another tip here – expect to wait a bit longer if you have a trolley. We have seen in the past the trolleys being directed to a different queue due to space issues. Either way, you will get your bag / things taken off you at this point (by one of the very helpful volunteers!) and it will be put either on the lower deck (if double decker), or in the hold (if a coach). Once you have your seat, the actual journey is anywhere between 15-30 mins usually – it really depends on the traffic. Once you get to glastonbury, the volunteers are usually pretty quick to unload all the bags on the floor, at which point it’s a scramble to get yours, and join the real fun…
  3. THE QUEUE – the 2 words everyone at Glasto dreads. The queue. Now, asking how long you will be stood in the queue can be a bit like asking how long a piece of string is. It depends on multiple things – time of day, which gate you are at, how quickly the stewards are moving with searches… etc. If you have got the train (or coach for that matter), you will be queueing in Gate A. The good thing about gate A is that there is not as bad a backlog on gate open compared the car queues, since people don’t usually wait overnight in this queue. It will be a bit longer first thing in the morning, but usually dies down into a steady stream of people as the coaches and trains arrive steadily through the day. We’d say to expect to wait at least 30 mins-1 hour – unless you arrive at a really random time – or as said above it could be longer than this if you’re at the very peak. Once you get to the front you may get a random search, or you may get lucky. Stewards can be very thorough when they want to be, it really is the luck of the draw on that one.

And that’s basically it! Only thing to say now is.. good luck and have a great time!!

Post to follow on going home from glasto via the train… watch this space!!

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