Published 29th May 2013
June can only mean one thing for several hundred thousand people; its Festival time in the Isle of Wight and at Glastonbury and thousands of festival-goers will be taking the train to avoid the traffic jams. Rail.co.uk looks at how you can travel to these huge events by rail.
First up is the Isle of Wight Festival between June 13 and 16 followed a week later between June 26-30 by the Glastonbury event.
Travelling to the Isle of Wight (IOW) festival is made more interesting by having to cross the Solent to and from the IOW but the festival ground is well served by public transport. It is important to know that trains connect with all the Cross-Solent operators at all their terminals.
Red Funnel operates a round the clock passenger and vehicle ferry service between Southampton, East and West Cowes, close to the festival site. These services are traditional ferries and the fast ‘Red Jet’ passenger services which will be operating twice an hour for the event taking about 25 minutes for the crossing.
The Red Funnel car ferries take about an hour to make the crossing. Travel to Southampton Central station by Southwest Trains, First Great Western and CrossCountry Trains connecting with a free bus service to and from the station to the embarkation point. After the crossing, there is a shuttle bus service on the Isle of Wight for foot passengers travelling to the festival.
Hovertravel offers a rare mode of transport with a passenger only (no cars) hovercraft service from Southsea seafront near Portsmouth, and lands at Ryde seafront in a journey that takes under 10 minutes. Again, Festival shuttle buses link in with the hovercraft services to the Festival site. There is a connecting bus service from Portsmouth and Southsea station to the hoverport. Follow the signs to the connecting Hoverbus shuttle service, which costs £1.30 per person.
Wightlink are the largest operator in terms of services offered with three routes across the Solent, two ferries and one ‘Fastcat’ route. Sailings will be every half hour at peak times as are the ‘Fastcat’ foot passenger catamaran services.
These run from Portsmouth Harbour station to Ryde Pier in about 25 minutes and this station is served by First Great Western, Southwest Trains and Southern services. Otherwise their car ferries, which also carry foot passengers, operate between Portsmouth Gunwharf Quay, a 15 minute walk from Portsmouth Harbour station, to Fishbourne and between Lymington Pier and Yarmouth.
Lymington Pier is served by a Southwest Trains shuttle from Brockenhurst which has an hourly Crosscountry service from the north as well as a frequent Southwest trains service running between Weymouth, Poole and London.
The car ferries take about 35 minutes and the Festival site is signposted from all terminals and every service has connecting shuttle buses to the Festival.
This year, Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis has partnered First Great Western (FGW) to provide a new ticket vending machine at Castle Cary station, the nearest station to the festival site.
First Great Western will run over 50 additional trains to and from Castle Cary Station during the festival to relieve overcrowding on the timetabled hourly service from London’s Paddington station offering almost 13,000 extra seats.
Welcoming the festival founder and philanthropist to his station, FGW’s Castle Cary Station Manager Nicholas Reid said:
“FGW are continually looking at ways to improve our stations and improve access to the full range of services that we can offer. In the last year over £85 million has been invested across our network of 210 stations, by working with rail industry partners, the DfT, and local authorities.
The work we mark today will allow even more Castle Cary residents to use the station, whether you wish to go down by the seaside or just have the hots for nowhere - helping us to keep people moving in these congested times.”
The 2013 Glastonbury Festival has partnered with First Great Western as an official travel partner. A free shuttle bus for Festival ticket holders will operate between Castle Cary and the Festival Bus Station adjacent to Pedestrian Gate A and back throughout the Festival. The last bus from the Festival to Castle Cary railway station will be at 5pm on the Monday and passengers will need to show their Festival ticket to use this bus service.
It is important to note that there will be no parking facilities at Castle Cary station during the Festival and that there will not be any left luggage facilities either.
Historically, trains on Sunday afternoon and in the early hours of Monday morning have tended to be less crowded and you are asked to allow plenty of time to get onto the bus, load luggage and travel to the station.
There are regular trains between London and Bristol from Castle Cary and a bus service from Bristol Temple Meads. This runs on Wednesday and Thursday between 10am and 7pm and costs £15 one way. The return services operate from 2pm to 10pm Sunday and from 6am to 7pm on Monday and again tickets are £15 one way. Note that this is a limited service and can take between 75 minutes to over two hours depending on traffic.