Frequently Asked Smartcard Questions

What is the London Northwestern Railway Smartcard?

Our Smartcard is an electronic card which stores Season Tickets for travel. It forms part of the Department for Transport’s wider programme of introducing Smartcards for rail travel across the South East region. Our Smartcard is being introduced for the London Commuter Area of our network.

Is this Smartcard the same as Oyster?

No. Oyster is a wholly separate system operated by Transport for London (TfL) for travel within the London boundary. Our Smartcard will support commuter travel on Season Tickets and Season Travelcards valid between one week and one year, it does not support Pay As You Go (PAYG) travel like Oyster or Contactless within the London boundary.

Who is eligible for this Smartcard?

The London Northwestern Railway Smartcard is available to commuters who regularly purchase a Weekly, Monthly, Custom Duration (e.g. three months) or Annual Season Ticket for travel on our services in the following areas:

  • West Coast Main Line (all stations between Long Buckby and Kings Langley)
    • Please note this will soon extend to stations within the TfL boundary (all stations between Watford Junction and London Euston)
  • Marston Vale Line (Bletchley to Bedford)
  • Abbey Line (Watford North to St Albans Abbey)

Customers with Annual Season Tickets on their Smartcard are entitled to Gold Card benefits, just like a paper ticket.

How do I get my Smartcard?

Please sign up to the registration form on this webpage. If you are eligible to participate in our Smartcard pilot, we will send you a link to apply for a Smartcard online.

Once you have signed up for a Smartcard, you will receive your card in the post.

How do I buy a Season Ticket for a Smartcard?

Once you receive your card in the post, you will receive instructions on how to purchase a Season Ticket. There are two ways to buy a Season Ticket:

  • Online – by logging into your Season Ticket account on our website, selecting a ticket to purchase and nominating your Smartcard and collection station to collect your ticket from
  • Ticket Vending Machine – by taking your new Smartcard to your local station and using the Ticket Vending Machine to select a ticket to purchase and load directly to your card

In the future, we will also be offering Smartcard tickets directly from our booking offices.

How will my Smartcard be checked during my journey?

Once you have loaded your Smartcard with a valid ticket, your card can be checked electronically onboard our services – please remember to retain your National Rail Photocard ID as you will be asked to show this in conjunction with your card (if you do not have a Photocard ID, you can apply for one from your nearest booking office).

If you would like to inspect your own Smartcard to check your ticket has loaded successfully, we recommend the Rambus Smart Ticket Checker which is available for free for Android devices from the Google Play Store.

Is this Smartcard eligible for Delay Repay?

Yes, this is applied in the same method as a paper Season Ticket. To apply for compensation please visit our Delay Repay page.

Can I board/alight at stations between where my ticket is valid?

Yes, just as you can with a paper Season Ticket, you are welcome to use intermediary stations as part of your journey.

What happens if my Smartcard is lost, stolen, isn’t working properly or damaged?

Please contact our Smartcard support team on 0333 311 0006 who will be able to assist you.

Do Annual Gold Card holders still receive the same benefits with a Smartcard?

Yes, if you purchase an Annual Season Ticket for your Smartcard, a Gold Record Card will be sent out to you in the post, which you can use to obtain Gold Card benefits.