Continuation Exits

This is an old page.  The current version can be found here.

There are a number of stations where it isn’t always obvious whether you should touch out or not using platform validators.  Usually these validators were intended to start or end Oyster journeys without leaving the station because the overall journey continued using paper tickets on National Rail.  In order to avoid problems at the station gatelines and/or the deduction of maximum fares due to unresolved journeys, the validators at these stations are set to continuation exit.  Note that this does not apply to readers attached to a gateline.

How it works

When you touch out at a standalone validator at one of these stations your fare is adjusted correctly as if you were leaving the Oyster system.  Any further touches at that station (including at a gateline) will replicate the exit with no further deduction, as long as the second touch is within the maximum journey time from the station where you started your journey.  If you continue on from that station by a different mode then when you exit at your final destination the balance is readjusted for the new end point.

The drawbacks

There are two drawbacks to be aware of.  Firstly, if there are no gates at the station then you must touch out using a validator if that is the end of your journey.  However, it is impossible to touch in until the maximum journey time from the start of the first journey has elapsed.  If you did not want to stay very long at one of these places then this could cause a problem.

Secondly there may be a problem with National Rail RPIs.  The exit touch removes the maximum fare which is what the RPIs are lookimg for when they check the card using a hand-held reader.  If at all possible you should only touch out and back in again at an interchange station if it is absolutely necessary, usually because one or both parts of the station are protected by gates.

The stations

These are the stations where standalone validators are set to continuation exit:

  • Barking
  • Chalfont & Latimer
  • Ealing Broadway
  • Elmers End
  • Farringdon
  • Finsbury Park LU
  • Harrow Wealdstone
  • Harrow-on-the-Hill
  • Highbury
  • Kensington Olympia
  • Kentish Town
  • Moorgate
  • Old Street
  • Paddington LU
  • Seven Sisters
  • South Ruislip
  • Stratford
  • Watford Junction
  • West Croydon
  • West Ham
  • West Ruislip
  • Wimbledon

Note: Finsbury Park was included on the list given by TfL in a FOI response, but the NR side of the station is no longer set this way because the platforms are now gated.

32 thoughts on “Continuation Exits”

  1. You indicate above that “it is impossible to touch in [to start a second journey] until the maximum journey time from the start of the first journey has elapsed.” Does this issue potentially arise every time a single journey from A to B is closely followed by another from B to C? Or does it apply only when the mid-point station of the two journeys has Continuation Exit readers?

    For example, if I do this…
    (1) travel from Kings Cross LU to Moor Park (journey time 45 mins; max journey time 120 mins);
    (2) leave Moor Park station for 60 mins (ie. until 105 mins after starting);
    (3) travel from Moor Park to Waterloo LU (50 mins; 155 mins since start)
    …does the short stay at Moor Park create any complications? Or are these two separate, straightforward journeys, without any potential pitfalls?

    Thanks for maintaining this excellent site, which I’ve only just discovered. It’s just what an irregular Oyster PAYG-er like me (mainly one-off, unfamiliar journeys) needs to make sure I don’t get caught out.

    • It really depends on whether Moor Park has gates as well as validators. I suspect it might have. If it does then you should be ok, because the gate clears the continuation exit marker. I’ve never been to Moor Park, so I don’t know.

      Until they changed the programming, there was a problem at Finsbury Park as it only has validators at the moment.

  2. Sorry, tried to make my question simple but forgot about the Chiltern NR interchange at Moor Park! But NR shares the Met Line “fast” platforms there and I don’t believe there are any validators, just normal gates. I should have used as an example a simple station with gates only.

    So just to clarify, is it the case that the only way that one completed journey can inadvertently be “continued” into another would be if there are continuation exit validators at the “middle” station? In other words, if you exit a gate, that journey is always completed?

    • I’d guess there might be validators on the platforms then if NR and LU share them. My understanding is that gates always close a journey except in the case of an out of station interchange. That is slightly different, but can lead to problems. Say you travel from Slade Green to Lewisham by NR and DLR via Greenwich. On arrival at Lewisham you touch out of the DLR station and go and do what you went there for. 15 minutes later you get back and find that there’s a direct train to Slade Green from the NR station so you touch in there. Because that is within the 20 minutes allowed for the out of station interchange it joins the two journeys into one. When you touch out at Slade Green you will have two unresolved journey charges.

  3. First posting after joining a great site.
    Can I clear up some confusion about Moor Park in that it is gated and only Metropolitan Line train serve the station now.
    National Rail services ceased to call in the early 1990’s at or around the time of the turbo trains introduction.

  4. Hi there,

    First of all an interesting site to clear some common confusions over the ticketing system.
    I am wondering if you could help me with my question. I have Z1-3 monthly paper ticket and if I travel to Harrow & Wealdstone, how can I touch in & out my Oyster PAYG in Zone 5 to deduct just the Zone 5 charge of 1.30?

    Just to add bit of more information, I would need to travel from Seven Sister to Euston and then take Midlands train to Harrow (Euston – Zone 5)


    • Firstly, I’ve combined your two comments into one, even though I’m not quite sure what this has to do with continuation exits.

      Secondly, you appear to be trying to evade paying for zone 4. That is something that this site will never condone.

      However, when you next buy your season, put it on your Oyster card instead of getting a paper ticket. That way you will only be charged for a zone 4-5 journey when making this sort of trip.

  5. Mike,

    You misunderstood me. I am not trying to evade paying for Zone 4. If you take London Midlands train to Harrow & Wealdstone from Euston its just Zone 1 & 5. I have once used my monthly season in Oyster & PAYG to Harrow & Wealdstone, the ticket barrier just charged me 1.30 for Zone 5 alone. However, now I have now started using the paper ticket and wondering how can I combine paper ticket & Oyster PAYG from Euston – Harrow.

    PS:- Please check the below TFL site where they have specially mentioned Euston – Zone 5 and thats the reason I particularly mentioned about the London Midlands Train.


    • Prad,

      There’s misunderstanding on both sides then. According to that page the fare of £1.30 applies to zones 4-5 as well as zone 5 only. The special Euston fares are only applicable when travelling on the line from Euston to Watford Junction only. Your journey combines Underground and National Rail.

      That said, my advice still remains the same. You need to put your season ticket on your Oyster card so that it only charges you for zones 4 and 5. As there is no station on the boundary between zones 3 and 4 you cannot combine Oyster PAYG and a paper season ticket without paying for zone 3 twice (or risking a penalty fare on the section between the last station in zone 3 and the first station in zone 4.

      I hope that helps.

  6. Hi,

    Just trying to clarify something (after seeing on my oyster PAYG journey history that I have a couple of incomplete journeys).

    I read here that the validators I had touched in at were Ealing Broadway Central line platform and District Line platforms.

    My journeys were as follows:
    Hayes & Harlington to Ealing B’way (FGW)
    Ealing B’way to Victoria (District line)


    Hayes & Harlington to Ealing B’way (FGW)
    Ealing B’way to Marble Arch (Central Line)

    Am I right in thinking that I do not need to touch in on the Central Line or District Line platforms before getting the Central/District Line tube as it is a continuation of my journey?

    In both cases I was charged 50p for the ‘incomplete’ journey.

    Any clarification would be useful.

    Thanks for a very useful site 🙂

    • Yes, you don’t need to touch in the middle of your journey at Ealing Broadway. I’m not sure about the 50p bit – I’d expect this to be the difference between Hayes to Ealing and Hayes to zone 1, but I can’t seem to find a fare scale that makes that 50p. For instance, if you are an adult travelling off-peak I would expect to see £1.40 charged for Hayes to Ealing and £1.30 added on for Ealing to Victoria making £2.70 in total. If you have a railcard, or some other discount, then the fares would be different.

      In any case, it isn’t a true incomplete journey because the system has corrected itself at the end. It’s just that journey history doesn’t know what to do with the extra validation. Also, if you do this then some RPIs get confused because your card appears to be un-validated on the second leg and you might be issued with a penalty fare. So the best advice is not to touch in the middle at Ealing Broadway.

      • Sab,

        I’ve just twigged what you are doing. It’s between 1600 and 1900 so the charge is peak Hayes to Ealing at £2.20, but because the total journey ends in zone 1 it is converted to off-peak making £2.70.

  7. Thanks for the super quick reply, this was really bugging me but I thought next time I would try not touching in at Ealing if going onto the tube and see what happens. I guess the 50p is just making up the rest of the journey into Zone 1 from Hayes.

    This is what the actual charges were for one of the journeys (for both of them I was charged the same as travelling similar times):

    ???? – 18:51 [No touch-in] to Marble Arch £0.50

    17:55 – 18:14 Hayes & Harlington [National Rail] to Ealing Broadway £2.20

    Thanks again, keep up the great work!

  8. Could you explain how it works ate elephant and castle.

    Lets say you are traveling from Baker street to elephant and castle, and then catching the over-rail to say balham. Do you touch out at the tube station ( I guess yes since it has barriers) and then touch in again at elephant and castle over-rail (if so where, there are no barrier per se). Or do you not touch in at elephant and castle over-rail


    • Hi John,

      I’m guessing that you’re really talking about the out-of-station-interchange rather than a continuation exit.

      If there are no barriers at the National Rail station then you should touch in at the platform validators. These are usually positioned near the entrance/exit or sometimes on an overbridge. I’m not familiar with Elephant and Castle so I’m not sure.

      Hope that helps.

  9. Hi,

    I have to travel from heathrow to Stratford. I plan to buy a Heathrow connect ticket to Earling Broadway. After that I have my Oyster PAYG card. My question is: Can I touch in on the validator on the Central line platform and then touch out at the validator on the platform of Stratford. I then need to catch a train to Norwich. Please do help. thanks

  10. I see no OSI nor Continuation Exit noted for Finsbury ParK LU, which has Exit/Entry (It might be called PVAL) validators.

    I had the following, today:
    08:42 Kings Cross LU – Finsbury Pk
    09:02 Kings Cross LU – Kings Cross LU
    [I expected I might hit an uncompleted and an unstarted journey. I touched in at KXX Tube and out at KXX Western. I don’t know if that was necessary.]

    I also have on 11/01
    12:27 Sev Sisters – Finsbury Pk £0.00
    12:42 Sev Sisters – Walthmstw C £1.40

    You may want to check with TfL.
    I have been told that a Touch at Finsbury Park after a touch out will be viewed as a duplicate touch out if within 30 minutes.

    • Hi StarWill,

      Finsbury Park used to have continuation exit set before FCC istalled their gates. Now it is a proper OSI with 10 minutes allowed between touches. It looks like you are seeing a repeat of the behaviour you’ve reported at Tower Hill. I’ve raised a FOI request to them and now have to wait about 4 weeks to get a response.

  11. For what it’s worth, this is no longer possible when alighting from Overground tains at Clapham Junction since the readers on Platform 1 have been disabled, presumably by the works going on in the booking hall below.

    Of course, this is a pain if you’re transferring to or from Oyster since you now need to exit and re-enter the gate line (at the other end of the station) in order to correctly touch in or out. I missed a train because of this…

    (I guess the reader on platform 17 would have also worked but that’s just as far away from platform 1)

  12. The platform validators have been removed from platform 15/16 at Paddington. I assume the validators are no longer needed as there is no way of changing between London Underground and National Rail platforms without passing gatelines.

  13. Hi Mike,

    Shouldn’t the same principle apply for “continuation entrances”?

    The other day I arrived at Elephant & Castle National Rail station on a paper ticket from Brighton. I was transferring to the tube. I had never been to Elephant & Castle station before and I didn’t know the layout. Following signs for the Underground, I passed a wall-mounted Oyster reader and touched my Oyster card, thinking I was already inside the barriers and was touching in for the tube. I continued to follow signs for the Underground and found myself walking through a shopping centre and then on the street. (At this point I realised that I obviously had not been inside the barriers!) I then reached the barriers for the (apparently separate) Underground station where I had to touch in (again) to get through. I then touched out at the end of my journey (Goodge Street) as usual.

    I was charged a maximum fare (£6.90) for my touch in on the wall-mounted reader at Elephant & Castle National Rail station with no touch out, and was then charged normally (£2.00) for my journey from Elephant & Castle tube station to Goodge Street.

    It seems to me that my touch-in at the barriers of the E&C tube station should have been processed as a “continuation” of my touch-in at the wall-mounted reader at the National Rail station. I have contacted Oyster and have no doubt they will issue a refund, but this must happen to people all the time when they are not familiar with the station. Why not process “continuation entrances” they way they process continuation exits?

    • Hi Ben,

      Elephant and Castle is two separate stations. I agree that sometimes the signage is unclear, but no, they can’t treat an un-matched touch at the NR station as a continuation entry to the tube station. The Oyster system has no way of knowing whether you used a paper ticket and touched in error or have in fact travelled on the Oyster without touching in.

  14. I cannot see why the platform validators have been removed from platform 15/16 at Paddington.
    There will still be access between there and platforms 12, 13 and 14 without crossing a gateline.

    • Hi Malcolm,

      Paddington is undergoing major rebuilding at the moment. It’s possible that things will change again in the future. I’d rather not comment too much until the work has been completed.

  15. I recently came in to Stratford on an Overground train and was transferring to the DLR. I touched on a pink route validator fine, no problem. I didn’t go through a gateline. But at the entrance to the DLR there are lots of standalone validators with HUGE signs telling “ALL” PAYG users to touch in for the DLR. But when I did this, and the reader showed ‘Exit’ and the (correct) balance deducted. But this then presumably meant that I was no longer registered as being in the system. So my questions are: firstly, did I do the right thing in touching the validator, or should I have ignored the signs knowing I was already recognised in the system? Secondly, What would have happened if I encountered a ticket inspector? Would I have been deemed to be travelling without a valid ticket? And thirdly, what would (or should) have happened if I’d touched a reader again at my destination? Would the journey have been updated as it should have been, with no further charge applied (same zones) or would it have been considered a new touch in and have applied a ‘standard’ fare for an incomplete journey? As it is I was so scared of the latter (knowing I had already paid the correct fare so had defrauded no one) I just left the station with no further touching. But I spent the whole afternoon confused!

    • Hi Michael,

      Welcome to the comfusing world of Oyster. The signage at Stratford is one of the biggest problems, IMO, because lots of people get confused by this issue. Answering your questions as best I can …

      1) I would certainly ignore the signs knowing I was in the system already.
      2) I hope that a ticket inspector would know about the issue and not worry, but I know that there are some who will be confused. If you are given any sort of penalty fare in that situation then I will definitely assist in getting it quashed.
      3) When you next touch out it would be treated as a continuation of the same journey so there wouldn’t be a problem.

  16. I wonder if touching on a bus could be a possible solution to the drawback you mention of having to wait until expiration of maximum journey time? Similar to breaking an OSI. I remain completely baffled by why Elmers End has continuation exit as from memory there is just one stand alone validator by the entrance, where on earth would you continue on to by paper ticket from there? Is it a lack of understanding of how a tram journey works by TFL?

    • Hi Alun,

      Yes, using a bus will end a continuation exit, although if you haven’t capped and haven’t got any sort of travelcard season it will cost £1.35. Likewise, I am baffled by the continuation exit setting at Elmers End. There is more than one validator for NR trains, but there are no gates so it really shouldn’t be necessary.

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