Smartcard


Our smartcard has arrived – register now for yours.

We are pleased to now offer smartcards for weekly, monthly and annual Season Ticket and Season Travelcard holders. You can use a smartcard to buy from your local LNR booking office, self-service machine or online via our website.

Your new smartcard can help you avoid queuing to buy a ticket and make it easier to move through the ticket barriers, including those within London on the Underground and wider Transport for London network.

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

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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 barriers - 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 or Season Travelcard onto – a bit like a Travelcard on Oyster 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 should arrive within 2-5 days.
  • Once you have your card, you can buy your next ticket online or from the station:
    • If you buy online through your LNR account, 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 that time).
    • Alteratively, you can take your smartcard to your local LNR booking office window. Simply purchase your next ticket as normal and we can load your ticket to your smartcard.
    • You can also buy at a self-serve machine at the station and tap the black smartcard reader to load up your ticket onto your card. (At present, this is for weekly Season Ticket and Season Travelcards only)
  • If you already have a long term Season Ticket or Travelcard on paper that you wish to transfer to smartcard, you can also do this from your local LNR booking office window. Simply order a card from our website and take it to your local station where we can swap your old paper ticket for your smartcard - this is ideal for annual Season Ticket holders.

Where can I use it?

  • You can use the LNR smartcard right across our network, from London Euston in the south to Liverpool Lime Street in the north, including these principle areas of our network:
    • West Coast South. (All Stations between Northampton and London Euston)
    • West Midlands to London. (Stations between Birmingham New Street, Coventry, Rugby and London)
    • West Coast North and Trent Valley. (Stations served by LNR including Liverpool Lime Street, Crewe, Stoke on Trent, Stafford, Tamworth, Nuneaton)
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Additionally, you can use our smartcard to purchase tickets for travel on other operator services, such as:
    • CrossCountry services to/from Birmingham New Street from Tamworth and Nuneaton.
  • Please note we are unable to offer Local Authority tickets at this time on our smartcard, this may include zonal journeys within the West Midlands (nTrain) and journeys within the Merseytravel area.

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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 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.

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 is either issued in conjunction with, or 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 three 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.
  • Booking Office – simply take your new smartcard to your local LNR station and purchase your next ticket as normal from the booking office window, we can load your ticket to your smartcard.
  • 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.

Yes. You can now exchange your paper Season Ticket or Season Travelcard to smartcard from your local LNR booking office. Order a card online and bring it to your local booking office and we can swap over your ticket to your smartcard.

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.

Yes, if you purchase an 'Any Permitted' Season Ticket you can board other operator services, this includes for example Avanti West Coast or Southern services from Milton Keynes Central, or London Overground services from Watford Junction.

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.