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To celebrate Virgin Trains launch of a new super fast direct Pendolino service to Blackpool from London, Sand In Your Eye zoomed across to Blackpool Tower to carve a sand sculpture on the beach of one of the famous speedy tilting Pendolino trains with the Virgin Trains team.

We arrived with a van full of sand sculptors; Jamie Wardley, Claire Jamieson and Rich Spence were joined by James Wilding and Mark Wilson. It was a wild and windy day but luckily the rain held off. The lovely team at Virgin trains lent a hand and kept us well hydrated with plenty of tea and coffee – just like on the train!

Rich Spence sand artist UK

Rich Spence sand artist

sand carving UK

The train speeding along the sands

sand art Claire Jamieson

Claire Jamieson

The final sand carving had all the details you would find on one of the Virgin Pendolino trains, the streamlined shape suited for high speeds, the lines and doors, and the Virgin logo – it looked fantastic in the press and the Virgin Trains team enjoyed the build and posing with it.

sand sculpture blackpool UK

The Pendolino train arrives in Blackpool

This is a great example of a beach sculpture, because the sea is swiftly advancing towards you, coming to cover your sand art it has to be built in one day and you have to work quickly. The quality of the sand on the beach is also different to the sand we usually use for sculptures and bizarrely is not the best stuff to use – beach sand is morphologically ancient as the sea has been rolling over it for millennia.  This means that all the grains are round and the natural clays you may find in a building sand have been washed out.  The sand is therefore very clean, and the only thing holding it together is the water, once this has gone the round grains roll off each other and the sculpture falls down.  Still, you can’t beat having a sculpture on the beach!

We had to fetch lots of  water from the sea to begin sculpting the train – with all the splashing around, we were glad to be using waders for the first time in 13 years. Incredible that it’s only just occurred to us but a revolution occurred in Blackpool!


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