Project Oval PAYG expansion

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    Si Hollett

    The DfT have published the list of Phase 1 stations this morning. These will have PAYG by the end of the year, with a lot more to follow next year.

    The list is alphabetical, I’ve reformatted it below by route (some stations listed twice):

    West Horndon, Laindon, Basildon, Pitsea, Benfleet, Leigh-on-Sea, Chalkwell, Westcliff, Southend Central, Southend East, Thorpe Bay, Shoeburyness

    Tilbury Town, East Tilbury, Stanford-le-Hope, Pitsea

    Eynsford, Shoreham (Kent), Otford, Bat & Ball, Sevenoaks

    Dunton Green, Sevenoaks

    Kempton Park, Sunbury, Upper Halliford, Shepperton

    Ashford (Surrey), Staines, Egham, Virginia Water

    Ashford (Surrey), Staines, Wraysbury, Sunnymeads, Datchet, Windsor & Eton Riverside

    Denham, Denham Golf Club, Gerrards Cross, Seer Green & Jordans, Beaconsfield, High Wycombe

    Kings Langley, Apsley, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Tring, Cheddington, Leighton Buzzard, Bletchley

    Watford North, Garston, Bricket Wood, How Wood, Park Street, St Albans Abbey


    Thanks Si,

    I will be covering this shortly in more detail, but that’s useful to have it by line rather than alphabetical.

    Si Hollett

    One question that there is no information about is OSIs. Several towns in the Project Oval scope are (were?) treated with interchange maps on the NR website showing walking routes both stations. Hertford is one of these towns, but doesn’t have an OSI despite both stations being PAYG – probably the stations are rather far apart and deemed too far for an OSI (plus the route up to Stevenage not being included makes it less useful as an interchange). St Albans is likely in a similar boat – too far apart to bother with.

    Windsor, and in phase 2, Dorking, however, have the stations fairly close and are very much ‘potential OSIs’ – but there’s no news as to whether they will be. While Dorking is a little way off, Windsor is just 11 days away.

    Edenbridge Town and Farnborough stations were late additions to the phase 2 scope, added due to nearby stations being inside the scope – so perhaps they have done some thinking about this. And it’s not due to station groups – else Reading West would be added as it’s the same group as Reading (then again, perhaps that’s a separate scheme as the station is being overhauled and upgraded).


    Given that fares in these areas are purely dictated by the train operating companies (I believe), I think the chances of anything ‘new’ being introduced is unlikely. I don’t really see GWR and SWR agreeing to reduce the fares they charge just because people walk between the stations.

    I look forward to being proved wrong, of course.

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 4 weeks ago by Feathers.

    It may depend on whether there are any fares priced with the walking interchanges in mind. Ware to Bayford is only available via London, meaning that if you wanted to make the journey via Hertford you’d need two tickets, or two PAYG fares. Ware to Stevenage is available via Hertford, but it may depend on whether the fare is different to the sum of the two singles. The same consideration will apply to other pairs. If the train companies want through fares to be available using PAYG and those interchanges, they’ll have to ask TfL to set up new OSIs.

    Si Hollett

    National Rail Enquiries routes Slough – Richmond via Windsor so there is definitely a walking interchange there.

    Slough – Windsor anytime single is £3.40. Windsor – Richmond anytime single is £9.00*. £11.00 for a Slough-Richmond anytime single is cheaper than individual singles.

    However TfL offers a route that takes slightly longer via Turnham Green that is £4.00, so I doubt people would use the Windsor interchange for this particular journey! Slough – Staines though…

    *I’m doing 14th of December for these prices – this ticket today is £9.30, so Oval has lowered fares.

    Miles Thomas

    For clarity, St Albans City already supports contactless, as does many other stations on the north end of the (original) Thameslink, at least as far as Luton (ISTR).

    City to Abbey is indeed borderline for an OSI type arrangement, knocking on for a 20 minute walk (1.25 miles, Google maps says 30 but I think that’s generous). But maybe should be allowable in case of disruption on Thameslink.

    I wonder if there are plans (or a date) when the capability is extended to Woking (Southwest Main line–last contactless point currently is Surbiton I think) and Chelmsford or maybe Sudbury/ Marks Tey/ Colchester / Ipswich.


    Luton Airport Parkway is the current limit of contactless on the Midland Mainline.

    Phase 1 of Project Oval will be ready, from a software point of view, on December 3rd. The actual golive date is being controlled by the DfT who will probably want to make a big bang announcement. Currently they say by the end of this year.

    Phase 2 is likely to be sometime next year, or even 2025, given that phase 1 was supposed to be ready earlier this year. That will include SWML to Farborough and GEML to Witham according to current plans. These do change from time to time though.

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 3 weeks ago by Mike.

    Also to Si,

    I’m aware that train companies are revising fares for the introduction of contactless. It seems that normal fares are being aligned with PAYG, including singles being half of the appropriate return. SWR are also abolishing their evening and Sunday fares on lines with contactless.

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