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Man holding an oyster card at the train ticket gates

Using an Oyster card

Find out how to travel on Great Northern trains in London on an Oyster card without worrying about buying a ticket each time.

Oyster on Great Northern services

Oyster is a smartcard which can hold credit to pay as you go, as well as Travelcards.

Using pay as you go with an Oyster card on the train is simple. Just touch in on the yellow card reader at the start of your journey and touch out at the end. The correct fare is automatically deducted from your card.

You can use your Oyster card on all Great Northern trains within the London zones 1-6 – as well as on buses, Tubes, Trams, The Docklands Light Railway, London Overground, TfL Rail and most National Rail services in London.

Buying and topping up your Oyster card at a Great Northern station

You can buy or top up your Oyster card at:

Top up your balance at any self-service ticket machine at our stations within the London Travelcard area, as well as stations between Merstham and Gatwick Airport and Epsom. You can also top up at London Underground, London Overground and TfL Rail stations and many newsagents across London, or use the TfL Oyster and contactless app as well as online at the TfL website.

Oyster cards will no longer be available at some of our ticket offices

From 1 March, these ticket offices won't provide Oyster services:

  • Blackfriars
  • City Thameslink
  • Drayton Park
  • East Croydon
  • Farringdon
  • Finsbury Park
  • Gatwick Airport
  • London Victoria
  • St Pancras

You can top up at a ticket machine, at a newsagent, the TfL Oyster and contactless app, or at

From 29 March, Oyster cards will no longer be available at Essex Road station. As this station doesn’t have ticket machines, you can top up at a nearby newsagent, the TfL Oyster and contactless app, or at

Find out more about Oyster.

Discover how you can travel paperless on our trains with the Key Smartcard, eTickets or with Contactless instead.

Oyster PAYG to Hertford North and Potters Bar

PAYG has been extended to the following Great Northern stations:

  • Cuffley
  • Bayford
  • Hertford North
  • Potters Bar

These extensions allow customers to customers to use either a contactless card, mobile device or an Oyster card to pay for travel.

As Oyster PAYG is based on single fares, there are occasions when Oyster may not be the cheapest option for your combination of journeys. Details of PAYG single fares can here found here. Details of caps for extension stations can also be found on the TfL website.

There are some important differences to be aware of:

  • These stations will not be included in the advertised London zonal area; instead it offers customers and alternative way to pay for their travel using PAYG
  • Season tickets will not be available on Oyster along the extended route. If you normally buy a season ticket you are advised to continue to buy this using the Key Smartcard or a paper ticket
  • Whilst a daily cap will apply; it is important to be aware that it will not always be cheaper than buying a return paper ticket. There will also be a weekly price cap for those using a Contactless card or mobile device; but it will still be cheaper to buy a season ticket on the Key Smartcard or paper
  • Children’s ZIP Oyster cards, London Freedom Pass, 60+ London Oyster photocard and Veterans Oyster photocard holders CANNOT travel free on the these routes

Capping costs

The daily cost for pay as you go on Oyster is capped, so if you’re making several trips it could work out cheaper than buying separate tickets.

You won’t normally pay more than a daily pass or Travelcard, however many trips you make in one day.

Find out more about Oyster capping

Oyster Travelcard Season Ticket

If you want unlimited travel you can buy an Oyster Travelcard Season Ticket.

This will let you travel as much as you like on any National Rail, London Overground, London Underground, buses, Docklands Light Railway and London Tram service within the London Zones 1-9 (depending on the zones you purchase).

You can use Oyster PAYG on all National Rail routes for journeys wholly within the London zones 1-6 and certain other locations.

Why not go contactless?

Use your debit or credit card to travel around London