Contactless rail travel will finally be available to Hemel Hempstead, St Albans Abbey and Tring passengers, the Government has announced.

Passengers can soon touch in with their bank cards to travel from the stations – without the need for paper or e-tickets.

It is part of a £20million scheme sometimes known as Project Oval, the Department for Transport and Transport for London hope to roll out the technology throughout South East England.

The announcement on Tuesday, July 4 includes the names of 53 stations in the first phase of the project, including stops on London Northwestern Railway out of London Euston.

It will mean passengers throughout Hertfordshire and the surrounding counties will be able to “touch in” with their bank card and “touch out” at most stations in London – and as far south as Gatwick Airport.

Read more

Some passengers in Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Essex will be used to the technology, which has been used in the area for 20 years.

Oyster cards and readers were rolled out on the Metropolitan and Central lines in June 2003, at stations such as Rickmansworth, Watford and Epping.

At the moment, rail passengers can use their contactless cards for travel on lines between London and Luton Airport, Welwyn Garden City, Hertford and Broxbourne.

Shashi Verma, chief technology officer at TfL, said contactless travel has “become increasingly popular across London and the surrounding areas in recent years”.

He said: “We are delighted to be delivering this expansion of Pay As You Go with contactless to a further 53 stations across the South East for the Department for Transport, helping to share our experience in smartcard ticketing with the wider rail industry.

“This will help those traveling by rail outside London do so more flexibly and conveniently, and support the wider UK economic recovery through easier access to rail travel.”

Rail minister Huw Merriman MP said: “One of the best ways to get more people using our railways is to make journeys as simple, flexible and convenient as possible and the government’s programme for rail reform prioritises exactly that.

“By removing the stress of finding the best deal in advance or having the right ticket ready to go at the barriers, the extension of tap-in tap-out ticketing is the next step of our plan for rail reform and we’re working towards Pay As You Go being rolled out beyond the South East through the Midlands and up to the North.”

Jacqueline Starr, CEO of the Rail Delivery Group, the body which represents rail firms, said: “Pay As You Go payments is a significant step in the right direction.

“It eliminates the need to queue at ticket machines or pre-book paper tickets, allowing passengers to simply tap their contactless cards or devices to pay for their journey.

“We believe that embracing contactless technology will enhance the overall passenger experience and contribute to a more seamless journey on our network.”

In Hertfordshire, contactless will be rolled out on the Abbey Line between Watford Junction and St Albans Abbey – at Watford North, Garston, Bricket Wood, How Wood, Park Street and St Albans Abbey.

Passengers can already use their contactless cards on Thameslink trains from nearby St Albans City.