Rail Minister, Huw Merriman MP joined Southeastern and the Canterbury Society today (Tuesday 13th February) in Canterbury to recognise the past, present and exciting future for rail ticketing.

It was in Canterbury, just over 190 years ago when what is believed to be the world’s first railway season ticket was issued. Today, Southeastern is the only operator in the country to accept and retail Flexi tickets as an sTicket, the latest and most secure ticketing format for barcode rail tickets. Since becoming available to customers in mid-December, just over 6,800 sTickets have been sold to customers across south east London, Kent and East Sussex.

The special event culminated with an unveiling of two new blue plaques that recognise Canterbury’s proud railway history. The first is placed on the station entrance and marks the terminus of the former Canterbury to Whitstable railway, which operated from 1846 to 1952.

The second plaque commemorates the issuing of the world’s first railway season ticket in 1830 and will, ultimately, be placed on Weighbridge Cottage, the site of the former station building. These are the first of 14 new blue plaques which will be installed across the City in the coming months by the Canterbury Society and recognise Canterbury’s proud history.

Rail Minister Huw Merriman MP, said:

Our railways have a long history, but we are determined that they have a bright future too.

“Almost 200 years after launching the world’s first-ever season ticket in 1834, it’s great to see Southeastern continuing to deliver for passengers.

“Simpler ticketing can help attract more people back onto trains, which is why it’s a key part of this Government’s plans for reform.”

Jan Pahl, Vice-President of the Canterbury Society added:

“We are pleased to be working with Southeastern to celebrate Canterbury’s special place in Britain’s railway history.

“These plaques at Canterbury West and Weighbridge Cottage are part of a project for 14 new blue plaques in Canterbury.

“The project is an outcome of the Canterbury City Counci’s Heritage Strategy 2022 which will contribute to delivering the vision of Canterbury’s rich heritage – a heritage that is internationally recognised, accessible to everyone and celebrated for its outstanding significance, delivering long term economic, social and environmental benefits to our district.”

Alicia Andrews, Commercial Director, Southeastern, added:

“We are delighted to have been joined by the Rail Minister and Canterbury Society for this special event today which not only recognises Canterbury’s railway history but also our industry-leading developments to help build a better, more reliable and sustainable railway. 

“We are the first operator in the country to accept and sell Flexi sTickets and we know customers right across south east London, Kent and East Sussex hugely value how convenient, simple and secure they are. 

“sTickets complement our other digital products, such as eTickets and The Key Card providing even more options for customers when buying rail tickets to  any of our fantastic destinations.” 

sTickets are available to buy through the Southeastern website and app, providing a secure, convenient and queue-free way of buying a Season ticket for travel in south-east London, Kent and East Sussex. 

sTickets are suitable for passengers making the same journey regularly, such as travelling to work or for education. They are available to buy from the latest version of the Southeastern app and the Southeastern website.

sTickets are sent straight to a passenger’s phone and stored in the Southeastern app and are ready to use immediately after purchase. As they’re purchased directly from Southeastern, as opposed to a third party, there are no booking fees and you can use the same app for up-to-the-minute travel information as well.

Flexi Season tickets provide 8 days of travel in 28 days – any time between two stations. Customers receive eight undated one day passes, giving customers total freedom to choose when they travel.

eTickets remain available for non-season travel and are stored on the passenger’s digital device. They are quickly becoming Southeastern’s most popular ticket format, with over 700,000 sold between 11th November and 8th December, the equivalent of over 2,500 per day.   

For more information, visit: https://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/tickets/tickets-explained/stickets