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The Key

Got a question about our smart card, The Key? Find the answers here…

Got a question? We can help...

What is The Key?

The Key is the name of our Smartcard ticket.

You can buy, transfer, and renew Southeastern season tickets on our Key card. It’s a faster, safer, and more durable way to use your season ticket – and it’s free.

Just tap in and out at the ticket gates, same as you do for Oyster and Contactless. 

What type of ticket can be purchased?

The following season tickets can be used on The Key –

Weekly season tickets
Monthly season tickets
Annual season tickets
Custom season tickets
Out-boundary travelcard season tickets (starting from outside London zones)

In-boundary travelcard season tickets – i.e. travelcard season tickets starting inside London zones, and standard tickets like advance / off-peak / anytime, aren’t available on the Key yet.

If you buy tickets using a company cheque or warrant, season ticket purchases have to be made at a ticket office. Unfortunately, the Key is not currently available at ticket offices, and only paper season tickets can be issued. 

Where to use The Key?

The Key can hold tickets between any two Southeastern stations. Tickets from Southeastern stations outside of the London travelcard area can also include a travelcard for you to use on the following:

  • London Underground services
  • Tram services
  • London DLR
  • London Bus routes – Some London buses are experiencing issues with their tapping in system however, please advise the driver of the ticket you hold when boarding.

So, anywhere your paper ticket works, your Key will mirror this. This includes any Train Company that travels on your permitted route. 

Click here to see where and how you can use The Key on our network.

The Key is also valid on high speed trains.

How many tickets can be purchased on The Key?

You can buy up to 5 different season tickets on The Key (each season ticket has to be bought and loaded separately). 

What are the benefits of using The Key?

  • It’s faster to buy season tickets online
  • If you buy your season ticket online, you can load it on to your Key card when you next tap in at the ticket gate
  • You can also buy and load season tickets from our ticket vending machines 
  • Smartcards are more durable than paper tickets 
  • They’re also safer – if you lose your Smartcard we’ll send you a replacement free of charge, and block the old one to stop anyone else using it. 

How do I get The Key?

You will need to register online here after which your Key will be sent to the designated address within 3-5 working days. 

If you are transferring a paper ticket to your new Key card, you will be required to enter a Photocard number. This number will identify the valid ticket and transfer this over to your Key.

When prompted to enter your Photocard details, please submit this as shown on your ticket.
If your Photocard number doesn’t begin with “01” and fails to proceed to the next steps, please try again, this time entering “01” at the start of your Photocard number. 

If you have any problems, please don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Services team on 0345 322 7021.  

How are tickets purchased/renewed on The Key?

Tickets will be available online and Key cards will be updated with any new tickets you have bought the next time you tap your Key on a smart card reader at your specified station.

Tickets will also be available from ticket vending machines at stations outside of the London zones so that you can purchase tickets before travelling.

When can I transfer my paper ticket?

From the point of purchasing a new paper ticket you will then be able to request a paper ticket transfer 48 hours after the paper ticket has been purchased.

If you are transferring a paper ticket to your new Key card, you will be required to enter a Photocard number. This number will identify the valid ticket and transfer this over to your Key.

When prompted to enter your Photocard details, please submit this as shown on your ticket.
If your Photocard number doesn’t begin with “01” and fails to proceed to the next steps, please try again, this time entering “01” at the start of your Photocard number. 

If you have any problems, please don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Services team on 0345 322 7021. 

How long do I have to request a paper transfer after registering?

You have up to 2 hours from the point of registering to apply for a paper transfer. 

How is The Key inspected or checked?

Southeastern employees will be able to read The Key with the use of a hand held mobile device. This will enable employees to check and assist you with any queries you may have.

You can use the ticket vending machine or go to your online account to check the status of your Key card.

On trains, you may be expected to present your Key card to Southeastern employees for validation when asked.

Is there a Key for children?

Yes, click here for how to order a child Key card.

Why don’t adult Key cards have photos?

A paper photocard is not required when travelling on The Key; our Key card will have your name printed on the front.

How do I add a new Season ticket to my Key card?

If you already have a Key card and want to load a new Season ticket on it you can do this online, using any major credit or debit card or PayPal. 

If you are paying using a company cheque or warrant, Season ticket purchases have to be made at a ticket office where unfortunately The Key is not currently available and only a paper season ticket can be issued. 

Can I transfer a paper Season Ticket to The Key?

Yes, providing:

  • You choose to transfer when first registering for The Key
  • You have at least one month’s validity remaining on the ticket
  • The ticket is a full priced Season Ticket and was purchased at a Southeastern station or Southeastern website
  • The ticket is for a Key enabled route 

If you are transferring a paper ticket to your new Key card, you will be required to enter a Photocard number. This number will identify the valid ticket and transfer this over to your Key.

When prompted to enter your Photocard details, please submit this as shown on your ticket.
If your Photocard number doesn’t begin with “01” and fails to proceed to the next steps, please try again, this time entering “01” at the start of your Photocard number. 

If you have any problems, please don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Services team on 0345 322 7021. 

Can I get a ‘Changeover’ on my Season Ticket?

No, unfortunately this is not available for The Key. Please contact Customer Services for further information on 0345 322 7021 (calls charged at local rate and may be recorded).

Where can I obtain a refund?

To apply for a refund on any Key ticket, please complete a refund application form through logging into your online account or click here.
 
Key Season Ticket Left at Home: Paper tickets purchased as a result of you leaving your Key Season Ticket at home should be refunded at the ticket office.

Can I use railcards or other discounts on The Key?

No – unfortunately this is not yet available for The Key.

What rewards are available once I have registered for The Key?

As a Key holder you can receive our enhanced monthly rewards – Southeastern Rewards Plus. This is a monthly email featuring a range of offers and treats that are sent out to registered holders of The Key.
 
In the meantime you can always get great rewards deals on theatre, music attractions and exhibitions here, and remember Southeastern Rewards Plus members get an extra 10% discount on top of the prices shown! The discount will automatically be added to your basket.

If you are already a holder of The Key, please make sure you've opted in to receiving our emails, simply sign in to your account, click on Account details and click the Marketing and Service-Related Notifications tab to subscribe. 

Can I claim Delay Repay if I have a Key?

Yes – if your train journey is delayed by 30 minutes or more you can claim under the Delay Repay scheme. To claim compensation, visit Delay Repay

What happens if The Key is lost or stolen?

There are two options to choose from when you need a replacement Key.
 
If you originally had a paper ticket, and transferred it to The Key – even if it’s now expired and you’ve bought a new ticket for the Key – please contact our Customer Services team who’ll be able to discuss your options. You can get in touch with us on 0345 322 7021 (calls charged at local rate, and may be recorded), or complete our contact us form.
 
However, if you bought your Season Ticket directly onto The Key, you can request a replacement through our website. Simply sign in to your account, and under the options menu in the top right under your name choose “The Key replacement”. Follow the easy steps to fill out the form, and we’ll do the rest for you. 

What if a passenger’s Key isn’t working?

If an automatic ticket barrier displays an error code when using The Key, please seek assistance from a Southeastern gateline member of staff.

If the problem persists, contact Customer Services on 0345 322 7021 (calls charged at local rate and may be recorded) or complete a contact us form.

Can I claim 2FOR1 offers with The Key?

Yes Rail Delivery Group Gold Card benefits are available to holders of The Key.

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