Skip Navigation


19 Dec 2018

Swansong for paper train tickets as Southeastern launches improved and upgraded version of The Key

Swansong for paper train tickets as Southeastern launches improved and upgraded version of The Key: SE The Key-4

• Southeastern urges commuters to avoid queues by switching their season ticket to The Key before January 1 2019 to take advantage of 2018 prices
• The Key works by tapping in and out at the ticket gates, just like Oyster and Contactless
• Anytime and Off-Peak singles and returns now available from ticket offices and at ticket vending machines 

 Southeastern is bidding farewell to paper train tickets with the upgrade of The Key, the smart ticket now available for season tickets as well as a wide range of single and return fares.

Tickets on The Key can now be bought and picked up from Southeastern ticket offices, as an alternative to buying regular season tickets, in place of the old-style paper tickets which can wear out easily in ticket gates. Tickets on The Key can also be bought online, and redeemed by tapping in and out of ticket gates.

The Key can also be managed online through customers’ individual accounts, so replaced more easily if lost. And as each Key is registered to an individual, it means that a new one can be sent quickly to a customer’s home address.

Launching the new-look Key at Sittingbourne station on Tuesday, Southeastern’s Head of Retail John Backway said:

“It’s time for the swansong for the old-style paper tickets that have been around since the 1980s, which use out-dated technology and can wear out quickly, especially season tickets that are used frequently.

The Key has a huge advantage in that more than one ticket can be stored on it, and for the first time we’re introducing the option of being able to buy single and return fares, with all of the usual Railcard discounts as well. By switching today, passengers who are looking to renew season tickets by January 1 2019 can take advantage of the added benefit of paying 2018 prices – avoiding long queues at the same time.”

Smarter ticketing on National Rail – including The Key - and barcode ticketing elsewhere will become available for use on trains not just throughout the south east but across England during 2019.

Contact information

Southeastern Press Office

0330 095 9091

Notes to editors

MAIN PICTURE CAPTION (left to right) shows Diane Burke, Commercial Director for Southeastern; Steve Lamey, Smart Ticketing Programme Director at the Department for Transport; Zach Stebbeds, Platform/Sales Rest Day Relief at Southeastern; John Backway, Head of Retail for Southeastern.

Picture 8 shows Tracey Clarke, Sales at Southeastern; Zach Stebbeds, Platform/Sales Rest Day Relief at Southeastern.

More information on The Key is available on the Southeastern website.

The Key is available for:

  • Anytime Singles and Returns
  • Off Peak Singles and Returns
  • Super Off-Peak Singles and Returns
  • First Class and Standard Class
  • All Railcard discounts
  • One Day Travelcards for journeys starting out of London

Advance tickets are not available on The Key.


  1. Home
  2. Help and contact
  3. Media centre
  4. News Releases
  5. Swansong for paper train tickets as Southeastern launches improved and upgraded version of The Key