Our smartcard has arrived – register now for yours.

To support social distancing, we are looking at a number of measures to reduce contact and time at our stations, buying online is a key factor in helping us do that.

We are pleased to now offer smartcards for weekly, monthly and annual Season Ticket holders. This will help you avoid queuing to buy a ticket and make it easier to move through the ticket barriers.

You can register for a card now by signing up for an online account, which will be sent to you through the post.

Register Now

What is a smartcard?

  • A plastic card that is more reliable than a paper ticket because you can tap in and tap out of ticket barrier - so no more pesky barriers gobbling up your ticket – we call it a ‘card for life’.
  • A card that you can load your weekly, monthly or annual Season Ticket onto – a bit like an Oyster Card in London.

How does it work?

  • Once you’ve applied for a card, you’ll automatically be registering for an online account – that means you can buy your tickets online. Your card will arrive within 2 weeks.
  • Then, when you get to the station simply tap on a self-serve machine or a ticket barrier and your ticket will load onto the card. We are also rolling out Platform Validators which may also be used to collect tickets from. Allow 2 hours between buying a ticket online and tapping to collect your ticket (in the future we’ll be looking to reduce the time).
  • You can also buy at a self-serve machine at the station and tap the yellow pad to load up your ticket onto your card – but that does mean standing in a queue, and we’d really prefer if you did as much as you can online to help with social distancing.
  • At first, weekly, monthly and annual season tickets (including Travelcards) can be used with a smartcard (we’ll be looking to include more at a later date).
  • Whilst we’re upgrading our ticket office software, our station teams won’t be able to issue a smartcard or load a ticket onto it – we are working on that, so for now please go online.

Where can I use it?

  • All stations between London Euston and Long Buckby, including Transport for London stations we call at (Bushey, Harrow & Wealdstone & Wembley Central) – if you purchase a Travelcard, your card can also be used across the Transport for London network on the Underground, Overground, bus and tram network.
  • All stations on the Marston Vale line between Bletchley and Bedford (including Thameslink Bedford).
  • All stations on The Abbey Line between Watford Junction and St Albans Abbey.

Register Now

Frequently asked questions

Please see some frequently asked questions below regarding 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.

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.

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 London Euston)
  • Marston Vale Line (Bletchley to Bedford)
  • Abbey Line (Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey)

Customers with Annual Season Tickets on their smartcard are entitled to Gold Card benefits, just like a paper ticket. This is provided via a Gold Record Card, which sent to you separately after purchase of an Annual Season Ticket.

Please sign up to the registration link on this webpage. Once you have signed up for a smartcard, you will receive your card in the post.

Once you receive your card in the post, 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. The ticket will be made available to collect after 2 hours at the station and can be collected from a Self Service Ticket Machine, or ticket gates where available. We will shortly have platform validators available at stations which do not have ticket gates, these will also enable the collection of a ticket bought online.
  • Self Service Ticket Machine – by taking your new smartcard to your local station and using the Self Service Ticket Machine to select a ticket to purchase and load directly to your card. This is currently for weekly tickets only.

In the future, we will also be selling smartcard tickets directly from our booking offices.

Not yet, but we are exploring options that would allow customers to swap their paper Season Ticket for a smartcard. Please check this page for future updates.

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). Alternatively, we may also accept a nationally recognised form of ID, such as a driver's licence, should you be unable to acquire a Photocard ID.

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

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

Unfortunately it is not currently possible to apply for a changeover for a smartcard ticket. Should you wish to change your ticket, you will need to apply for a refund on your original ticket and then purchase a new ticket.

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.