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Thameslink and Great Northern passengers benefit from extension of smart ticketing

Press release   •   Oct 14, 2019 16:52 BST

14 October 2019: Thameslink, Great Northern and Southern season ticket holders on the UK’s biggest rail franchise can now use the time-saving, convenient Key Smartcard at more stations than ever before.

Passengers can also buy and store electronic single and return tickets on their mobile phones for use at over 160 stations.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) made the announcement as it celebrates national Smart Week (14-18 October) with a prize draw for one Key Smartcard holder every month to win back the value of their season ticket, worth as much as £6,000 for some annual journeys.

Smartcard team members are out at select stations every day this week, promoting Key Smartcard benefits to passengers including:

  • time-saving: no queues at the ticket office and a simple tap in, tap out to speed journeys;
  • more secure than a paper ticket: lost smartcards can be instantly cancelled and replaced;
  • automatically-generated Delay Repay claims: submitted with just a click of a button;
  • pay-as-you-go KeyGo: links the Key Smartcard to a bank or credit card and guarantees the best walk-up fare simply by touching in and out at the start and end of the day’s journeys.

The Key Smartcard can already be used at 255 stations across the Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern network. From today, the Key Smartcard will work on Southern services at 10 Southeastern stations beyond Bexhill on the East Coastway route, from St Leonards Warrior Square, via Hastings to Ashford International.

In the coming weeks the Key Smartcard will also be accepted at 26 other stations, extending the network across other operators’ routes including:

  • Cambridge to Kings Lynn;
  • Dartford to Rainham;
  • Swanley to Sevenoaks;
  • Tonbridge on the Redhill-Tonbridge route.

More routes will become available in the coming months.

Etickets can also be bought and downloaded to mobile phones for use at 161 stations across the GTR network, including 16 major stations fitted with barcode readers.

Thameslink and Great Northern Managing Director Tom Moran said: "We know our passengers want a smarter, easier way to travel and that’s what our ‘Key Smartcard’ and eTickets deliver. The Key is quicker than a paper ticket, more secure and means delay compensation claims can be processed automatically. I’m looking forward to rolling it out to more stations in the coming weeks.”

To find out more about the prize draw and to request a free Key Smartcard online, visit, or


Notes to editors

The Key Smartcard can be used to store a variety of tickets and more are being added. Tickets can be bought online and added as the passenger taps on the ticket gate to open it, avoiding ticket office queues at the station. Tickets, excluding annual seasons, can also be bought at station ticket machines and added instantly to the smartcard.

Further improvements are planned as GTR extends smart ticketing. Kiosks will soon be installed at 12 of the busiest stations on the network outside London from where passengers can register and receive immediately their first Key Smartcard on which to apply virtual tickets at the nearby ticket machine.

From November to next spring, ticket offices at Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern stations will also steadily begin selling tickets to Key Smartcards that they will be able to issue

During Smart Week, the GTR Key Smartcard team will be promoting smart tickets and registering passengers for the Key Smartcard at the following stations: Monday 14 October, Brighton and Stevenage; Tuesday 15 October: Luton; Wednesday 16 October: Epsom; Thursday 17 October: Eastbourne; Friday 18 October: London Bridge.

Prize-draw: Key Smartcard holders should search ‘Win-Big’ on the Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern websites to enter the monthly prize draw to win back the value of their season tickets.

eTickets were previously restricted to Gatwick Express services. They are now offered as an option through the Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern websites. eTickets can be used at GTR stations with no gates and 16 major stations where barcode readers have been installed. eTicket types are currently restricted to Advance, Anytime Day and Off-Peak Day singles and returns on our network.

KeyGo is not currently available on the newly-extended route between St Leonards Warrior Square and Ashford International.

Govia Thameslink Railway

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:

  • Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
  • Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
  • Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
  • Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria

GTR is currently the most punctual of the large and complex operators in UK rail according to 'On Time' statistics released by the Office of Rail and Road for May, June and July 2019, and fourth of all train operators in the UK