Oyster rollout was limited to a restricted number of National Rail services at the introduction of the stored-value product on London Underground in January 2004. In response to an offer from Transport for London of funding to the train operating companies that have services within Greater London, plans were made to expand its acceptance across the rail network in London, and it was expected that by February 2009 TfL would announce plans for all suburban trains to accept the card. In May 2009 London TravelWatch indicated it had discovered that the works were unlikely to be completed until 2010. On 23 November 2009 the GLA announced that from 2 January 2010 the vast majority of rail services in Greater London would accept Oyster PAYG.
The Oyster card was launched in 2003 with the facility to hold season-ticket Travelcards, accepted on both London Underground and National Rail services. In January 2004, a PAYG product was launched for use on London Underground and DLR, but only a limited number of National Rail operators accepted the product on parts of their routes, usually because their tickets were interchangeable with London Underground ticketing under long-standing agreements. Transport for London (TfL) and National Rail publish lists and maps of routes and stations where PAYG is valid.
In May 2006 TfL and the Department for Transport agreed a £20 million funding package for train operators to install the equipment necessary to accept PAYG at all London stations. The package was not taken up by any train operating companies and in September 2006, the South West Trains franchise was renewed by the Department for Transport with the condition that smartcard ticketing must be in place by 2009. In November 2007 the metro routes operated by Silverlink were brought under the control of TfL and operated under the brand name London Overground, accepting Oyster PAYG.
A necessary precursor of the acceptance of Oyster PAYG was the introduction of zonal single fares on the National Rail network in London; this was implemented in January 2007. Also in January, the then Mayor of London Ken Livingstone announced that he required operators to sign up by 31 January 2007 in order to receive the funding package offer. c2c and Chiltern Railways accepted the deal and on 31 January 2007, a commitment was made by ATOC, in principle, that all other operators would eventually accept the PAYG product. According to ATOC, roll-out plans were subject to the installation of suitable ticket gates and back office equipment at all 330 stations. A 2009 date was set out for this to be finished by.
Current acceptance and future schedule
The acceptance of Oyster PAYG on National Rail has now been implemented across the Travelcard area (Zones 1-9), and at additional stations including Watford Junction, some Abellio Greater Anglia stations and c2c stations at Purfleet, Ockendon, Chafford Hundred and Grays. Oyster PAYG is now available on Southeastern highspeed between St Pancras International and Stratford International stations only.
TfL and BAA studied acceptance of Oyster PAYG on BAA's Gatwick Express and Heathrow Express in 2006, but BAA decided not to go ahead. However, since then Oyster PAYG has been introduced between Gatwick and central London.
In October 2007, it was agreed by all National Rail Operators who operate services in London to implement the scheme by 2009 at the latest, as a result of both pressure from passengers and TfL. An agreement was reached with TfL to accept Oyster PAYG at all National Rail stations in Greater London. As a result of this implementation, ticket barriers with readers have been installed at some National Rail stations to prevent fare evasion, for example, London Waterloo from 2008.
It was announced in late 2009 that all London National Rail services would accept Oyster PAYG from 2 January 2010, although fares may not be the same as for a comparable Tube journey.
In the Chancellor's Autumn Statement in November 2011, expansion of the Oyster system was reported covering towns such as Guildford. This appears to have been mistaken reporting, the Chancellor only referred explicitly to 'smart ticketing' being introduced, presumably the ITSO scheme being driven by DfT.
The current arrangement and planned implementation schedule is as follows:
|Operator||2004 implementation||Expansion implemented||Zones 1—9 completed||Expansion planned|
|Abellio Greater Anglia||Liverpool Street to Walthamstow Central, Seven Sisters and Tottenham Hale (not at intermediate stations)
Liverpool Street to Stratford
|2006: Stratford to Tottenham Hale and Seven Sisters
Jan 2008: intermediate stations
2 January 2010: all remaining stations
2 January 2013: Turkey Street and Enfield Lock to Broxbourne; Harold Wood to Shenfield
19 October 2015 Rye House, St. Margarets, Ware and Hertford East
|c2c||Fenchurch Street to Upminster
Liverpool Street to Barking via Stratford (not at Forest Gate or Maryland)
|Jan 2008: Barking to Rainham
2 January 2010: Upminster/Rainham to Grays
|Chiltern Railways||Marylebone to Amersham
Marylebone to West Ruislip (South Ruislip only intermediately)
|Jan 2008: intermediate stations 
April 2008: London Paddington to South Ruislip
|Great Western Railway||Jan 2008: Ealing Broadway to Greenford (not at intermediate stations)
April 2008: London Paddington to Ealing Broadway (not at Acton Main Line)
Sept 2008: Acton Main Line, Drayton Green to South Greenford, Ealing Broadway to West Drayton.
|London Midland||Euston to Harrow & Wealdstone||2007: Watford Junction to Harrow & Wealdstone|
|London Overground||Euston to Harrow & Wealdstone
(not at Kilburn High Road or South Hampstead)
Gunnersbury to Richmond
Stratford to Canning Town (closed 2006)
|2007: all remaining stations
||Any future lines that become part of London Overground.|
|Southeastern||Elephant & Castle to City Thameslink ||2 January 2010: all remaining stations
31 July 2015: St Pancras International to Stratford International on HS1.
6 September 2015: Dartford.
9 March 2016: Swanley
|Southern||2007: Clapham Junction to Watford Junction
November 2009: London Victoria to Balham 
2 January 2010: all remaining stations
11 January 2016: Gatwick Airport, Horley, Salfords, Earlswood, Redhill and Merstham.
25 February 2019: Epsom
|South Western Railway||2 January 2010: all stations.
25 February 2019: Epsom
|TBC: Hampton to Shepperton  According to SWT, rollout is on hold for unknown reasons.|
|Thameslink and Great Northern||Kentish Town to London Bridge, Elephant & Castle or Moorgate
Finsbury Park to Moorgate or King's Cross
|2007: Kentish Town to West Hampstead Thameslink
2 January 2010: all remaining stations
11 January 2016: Gatwick, Horley, Salfords, Earlswood, Redhill and Merstham
April 2019: Cuffley, Bayford and Hertford North
August 2019: Radlett, Potters Bar
August 2019: Brookmans Park (Contactless bank cards only)
|By 2019: St. Albans to Luton Airport; Welham Green to Welwyn Garden City|
|TfL Rail||31 May 2015: Liverpool Street to Shenfield
20 May 2018: Hayes & Harlington to Heathrow Terminal 4 and Heathrow Terminal 5
|15 December 2019: Paddington to West Drayton [a]|
2020-2021: Liverpool Street to Abbey Wood
- Although oyster pay as you go will not be valid past West Drayton, from 2 January 2020 contactless payment will be accepted on the entire route.
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