Glastonbury festival ticket holders will begin their pilgrimage to the Somerset event this week, but more than half of the trains from London have been cancelled due to strike action.

The site opens on Wednesday, with many people making the journey today (Tuesday), tomorrow and Thursday. The festival will run from Friday 24 until Sunday 26.

Glastonbury will finally be able to celebrate its 50th edition, after the festival was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) at Network Rail and 13 other train operators have said they will strike on June 21, 23 and 25, heavily affecting those travelling to the UK’s flagship festival.

Traditionally, punters would travel to the closest rail station in Castle Cary, which would operate specially-run trains. Great Western Railway (GWR) will operate just five services from London Paddington to Castle Cary on Thursday, with a total of 24 services running between Wednesday and Friday. Some 51 were expected to run before the industrial action was announced.

However, GWR told the BBC that a total of 58 services from London and other parts of the UK will call at Castle Cary and will be able to carry around 8,000 people, though the train operator did say that some train times may be altered.

Glastonbury’s coach partner National Express will transport more than 30,000 ticket holders to and from the festival, but warned against congestion as more people have enquired about routes since the strike announcements.

Glastonbury is not the only live event to suffer, with London’s Junction 2 festival cancelled due to strikes on the Central, Jubilee and Victoria lines, which are planned for every Friday and Saturday until the end of June. The event was supposed to run last weekend (June 18-19).

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, said: “The industry is bracing itself for a substantial impact on trade due to the planned rail strikes over the coming week.

“The prospective impact on trade will be set to run into millions as we embark on festival season and move into the busy summer periods for tourism. Limited rail services across the UK will leave many stranded at night, compromising the safety of staff and customers, with very few alternative transport services available.”

Image: James Genchi on Unsplash