SOME Glastonbury Festival ticketholders have been forced to make late changes to their travel plans because of disruption caused by the upcoming rail strikes.

Two festivalgoers have spoken to the County Gazette after being told the services they were booked onto changed just a week before the event begins. 

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union working for Network Rail and 13 train operators are set to take industrial action on June 21, 23 and 25.

Mick Lynch, the union’s general secretary, said it will “shut down the railway system” over complaints about workers ‘losing their jobs or facing another year of a pay freeze’ during the cost-of-living crisis.

Train operator Great Western Railway (GWR) has confirmed there will be limited services operating to Castle Cary – the closest station to the Worthy Farm festival – between June 21 and 25.

Some Glastonbury ticketholders have been left searching for travel options after learning their services on Wednesday, June 22 – the festival's first day– had changed.

Emily Calder, who lives in London, was aware of the strikes but was only told this morning by Trainline that part of her GWR service to Castle Cary on Wednesday “will no longer run”.

Somerset County Gazette: Emily (pictured) managed to secure a coach seat to Glastonbury after being told part of her GWR service to Castle Cary “will no longer run”. Emily (pictured) managed to secure a coach seat to Glastonbury after being told part of her GWR service to Castle Cary “will no longer run”.

She then booked to travel by coach instead to make sure she arrives at the festival on Wednesday as planned.

Emily said the experience has been “stressful”, partly because the festival stopped selling car parking passes online yesterday (June 15).

She told the County Gazette: “I luckily managed to grab the last seat on the only National Express coach between London Victoria and Glastonbury that hadn’t sold out for that day, but that’s cost me £70 which is more than I’d originally paid for my return train ticket.”

Emily will be refunded by GWR but will need to cancel and re-book her journey back to London.

“I wanted to refund just the outbound part of my return ticket, as I still want to get the train back if I can, but they can’t offer partial refunds,” she said.

“I’m going to have to cancel the whole ticket and book a single train back on the Monday, so it’s all a bit of a faff considering I’d originally booked my train months ago.”

Another festivalgoer impacted by the rail strikes is Rachel, who will travel from Abergavenny, her hometown in south Wales.

She reserved her seat on a GWR service scheduled to arrive at Castle Cary station on Wednesday before the industrial action was announced.

A week before she was due to travel, she received an email from Trainline telling her the last part of her journey (Westbury to Castle Cary) will not run.

Somerset County Gazette: Glastonbury Festival will return to Worthy Farm after two years away on Wednesday, June 22. Picture: Aaron Chown, PA WireGlastonbury Festival will return to Worthy Farm after two years away on Wednesday, June 22. Picture: Aaron Chown, PA Wire

Rachel – who asked to only have her first name published – said the cancellation left her looking at “various options, which are mostly more expensive, or much later in the day, or sold out”.

She added: “I haven’t found a solution yet. I'm hoping there may be a replacement bus service but failing this, I may need a lift.

“It's just a headache trying to arrange something, but I will get there, and I fully understand and support the reasons behind the strike.”

A spokesperson for GWR said: “We plan to maintain timetabled trains between Castle Cary and London Paddington throughout the course of the Glastonbury Festival.

“Some services might be subject to alterations to train times, and we will be in contact with customers who have already booked seats on board those trains.”

“We recommend customers who have already bought their train tickets between London and Castle Cary should check that amended plan before either changing their travel arrangements or submitting a refund request for their train ticket.

“Other parts of the GWR network are likely to be more affected by the strike action and customers may need to consider alternative ways to travel to a station serving Castle Cary.

“We plan to run a normal service for customers returning from Castle Cary after the festival. Please see our further travel advice below.”

Glastonbury Festival has published a travel update from GWR on its website, which says “online journey checkers are expected to be updated with the latest timetable information”.


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