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Your questions about all types of train tickets from Southern answered here…

Do I need a ticket to travel?

Yes, you’ll need a valid ticket (or permit to travel) to travel on our trains. If you travel on a train without a ticket, you’ll be asked to pay the full single or return fare or, may be given a penalty fare.

What are penalty fares?

What does Off-Peak mean?

Travel restrictions on Off-Peak Return tickets depend on your particular journey. It's best to use an online journey planner or speak to a staff member to check when your ticket is valid for your journey.

What is the difference between Return and Day Return for Anytime and Off-Peak tickets?

A Return ticket will allow you to return any time within a month, while a Day Return can only be used on the day of travel.

What types of train tickets can I buy?

You can buy tickets for rail journeys throughout Great Britain – not just Southern.

You can get:

  • regular single and return fares
  • season tickets
  • cheaper Off-Peak tickets
  • discount fares for group tickets
  • low-cost children's fares

You can use your Railcard to get a third off for some journeys too.

Types of tickets explained

Find the right ticket for you

Discounts and railcards

How do I buy tickets?

You can buy rail tickets with our online ticket booking system, from a ticket vending machine or at a ticket office at your local station. If you buy online you won’t pay a booking fee and delivery is free.

More about buying tickets

Buy a ticket now

What time does my local station ticket office open?

Will buying a season ticket save me money?

If you make the same peak time journey three or more times a week you can save money. If you buy an annual season ticket you'll also get extra benefits and discounts on top.

You can choose a ticket that's valid for any period from seven days to one year and you can get off at a different station along your route.

See how much a season ticket would cost

How you can save with a season ticket

Do I need to buy child tickets for my children?

It depends on the age of your child.

Children aged under 5: Up to two children under five can travel with you free of charge if you have a valid ticket. But they can only sit in a seat if it's not needed by another passenger with a ticket.

Children aged 5-16: You pay child fares up to the child's 16th birthday.

Children aged 16+: Once children turn 16 they must buy an adult ticket. The 16-25 Railcard can save money for young people in full-time education. How the 16-25 Railcard works

Students in or around Brighton or Worthing may be eligible for a Unizone ticket, which gives you unlimited travel at a discount. Find out more about Unizone.

Anyone travelling on a child fare may be asked for proof of age by our inspectors.

Can I use my Oyster card on your trains?

You can use Oyster Travelcard season tickets on our trains for journeys insidethe valid zones.

You can also use Oyster pay as you go (PAYG) within the Travelcard zone area.

See how easy it is to use Oyster cards on our network

Does a ticket including 'London zones 1-6' allow me to travel on any mode of transport within the relevant zone?

Yes, a Season ticket that includes ‘London zones 1-6' does allow the ticket holder to travel on the tube, bus, DLR, overground, tram, and any other trains in zones 1 to 6.

What railcards can I use to get discounted travel?

There's a range of railcards that suit different kinds of passengers - that offer you around a third off standard fares.

See the range of railcards available

You can buy railcards online or from any of our ticket offices. Choose the one that suits you best.

Can I reserve a seat on your trains?

No. We don't offer seat reservations on any of our services.

If part of your journey is with another train company who do offer seat reservations, we can arrange them for you (subject to availability) when you buy your ticket at a ticket office or online.

Can I use my freedom pass on your network?

Freedom pass holders can travel free on National Rail routes within the valid zones after 09:30 on weekdays or at any time on weekends and public holidays.

You can travel free at all times on most Transport for London (TfL) services.

If you are planning a trip that takes you out of the London zones and the service you are using stops within the London area, you will need to buy the additional appropriate ticket at the start of your journey.

You can show your pass and you will only have to pay the additional fare starting from where the London Zone boundary ends to your final destination.

Freedom passes are issued to older and disabled Londoners by your local council.

Find out more about the freedom pass

Can I buy a season ticket with a company cheque?

Yes, we accept company cheques for the purchase of annual season tickets from a ‘PLC’ or ‘Limited company’. We don't accept personal cheques.

Many companies have season ticket loan schemes so that their employees can get the benefits of an annual season ticket. These are often paid for by company cheque and so if your company cheque has the wording "for and on behalf of "(Name of the Company) and ends with one of the following - PLC/Limited/Ltd/ LLC / LP/ LLP we can accept those too.

If the ticket is a new issue (first purchase) the customer must produce two forms of ID:

  • Photo ID such as a driving licence or passport
  • A seperate ID from those detailed above which verifies the customers home address
  • The cheque should be made payable to Govia Thameslink Railway Limited.

    Can I get a refund on my ticket?

    If the train you planned to catch is delayed or cancelled and you decide not to travel, you can return your unused ticket (except Season tickets) to any National Rail ticket office for a full refund, no administration fee will be charged.

    If the train service is running normally and you decide not to travel you can apply for a refund at any National Rail ticket office by completing a refund application form within 28 days of the ticket's validity. Our staff will tell you if your ticket is eligible for a refund. You may have to pay an administration charge of up to £10.

    If you bought your ticket from anyone other than Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern or Thameslink please contact them for a refund.

    Can I get a refund on my Season ticket?

    If you no longer need your Season ticket and there is: three months remaining on an annual, seven days on a monthly or three days on a weekly then you can get a refund from one of our ticket offices.

    Refunds are worked out from the date you hand the ticket in and are the difference between what you originally paid and what you would have paid for a Season ticket (or combination of tickets) ending on that date.

    We don't give pro-rata refunds because it would mean that customers could buy an annual Season ticket at a discount, travel at the discounted rate (i.e. cheaper than those who are buying weekly tickets), but then hand it in part way through the life of the ticket and be given a refund as if they had paid the higher rate.

    Refunds on duplicate Season tickets can be processed, however, some additional checks are undertaken to validate the claim.

    Refunds are not given for time periods of non-use (except for a minimum period of four weeks continuous sickness) when travel is subsequently resumed.

    Refunds are made in the same way you paid for your ticket - if you bought it with a debit or credit it will be paid in to the same account.

    There is a £10 charge and the refund process can take up to 28 days to complete.

    Can I get a season ticket refund if I've been away from work because of illness?

    If you’re a season ticket holder who’s been temporarily unable to travel for more than four weeks because of sickness you can apply for a discretionary partial refund.

    We'll ask for supporting evidence, such as a medical certificate. You can visit your local ticket office for advice and assistance.

    What can I do if my season ticket is lost, stolen or damaged?

    Lost or stolen Season tickets purchased from a Great Northern, Southern, or Thameslink website or station.

    Paper Season tickets

    Please report a lost or stolen season ticket valid for one month or longer to a staffed Great Northern, Southern or Thameslink Railway ticket office as soon as possible to arrange for a duplicate season ticket application form to be issued.

    This is not currently available to report this online.

    A non-refundable administration fee of £20 is payable for each duplicate application. This needs to be paid at the ticket office when the request for a duplicate ticket is made. The ticket office will provide a payment receipt for the administration fee and issue a duplicate application form.

    If your photocard has also been lost/stolen this will need replacing prior to submitting a duplicate season ticket request. A passport style photo will be required to enable the ticket office to issue a replacement photocard. Details of the new photocard number should be included in the application.

    You will be required to complete the duplicate season ticket application form and send it along with the payment receipt to the ‘FREEPOST’ address on the form within 7 days of receiving the application form.

    You should also report any theft to the police.

    We will refund (with no administration charge) the cost of tickets purchased that match the journey details of the season ticket being replaced while you were waiting for the duplicate ticket to be issued. A letter confirming the dates you are eligible to receive a refund for will be sent to you along with the duplicate ticket. You should take the letter along with the tickets to a Great Northern, Southern or Thameslink staffed ticket office and arrangements will be made for you to receive your refund.

    Please note we do not issue duplicates for weekly season tickets.

    Damaged paper tickets
    If your paper ticket is faded or damaged, or doesn't work in automatic ticket barriers, you can return it to any Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern or Thameslink ticket office where we'll happily replace it free of charge.

    Key Smartcard Season tickets

    The best way to do this is by logging into your account to request this yourself. Log in to your account to cancel and replace your existing Smartcard.

    You can also report the loss or theft of a season ticket held on a Key Smartcard by calling our team to arrange a replacement:

    • 03451 27 29 20 (for Southern Website issued Smartcards)
    • 03450 26 47 00 (for Thameslink or Great Northern Website issued Smartcards)

    You can apply for up to two replacement Smartcards free of charge; further requests may incur a fee.

    Whilst waiting for your new card to arrive you will need to buy paper tickets to travel. Please keep these tickets as you will be able to claim a refund for them on receipt of your replacement Smartcard.

    Refunds will be processed at any Great Northern, Southern or Thameslink ticket office providing the season ticket is active at the time of loss. A £10 admin fee will be applied to all tickets as per our Smartcard refund policy.

    When requesting a duplicate season ticket you are agreeing to return the lost season ticket to the Duplicate Office immediately if it is subsequently found.

    If the lost/stolen season ticket or Smartcard was not purchased from a Great Northern, Southern or Thameslink website or ticket office you must contact the original retailer.

    How far in advance can I buy a season ticket?

    Monthly or annual season tickets

    If you're buying a new ticket starting on a Monday or Sunday, you can buy it any time from noon on the previous Friday. If the start date falls on any another day, you can buy the ticket after noon the day before.

    If you're renewing your monthly or annual season ticket you can do this up to seven days before the printed expiry date on your ticket.

    Weekly season tickets

    Weekly season tickets can normally only be issued on the first day of travel.

    See more about your season ticket options

    Can I change my season ticket to cover a different journey?

    Yes, as long as your Season ticket is monthly or longer and valid for at least another seven days. You can change the origin and/or destination station(s) without needing to pay an administration fee. We'll keep the expiry date the same and we'll give you a pro-rata refund or charge the difference if it costs extra.

    You need to ask promptly as we can't change a ticket retrospectively - so if there is a refund payable it won't be backdated.

    Check with the ticket office staff before you apply.

    I've seen the National Conditions of Carriage mentioned on your website. What are they?

    The National Rail Conditions of Travel are the contract between us and you that's created when you buy a ticket.

    All about the our Conditions of Travel

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