How to use smart card for Northern railway ticket?


Smart cards are becoming increasingly popular with rail passengers, as they offer convenience and cost savings compared to traditional paper tickets. Northern Rail has recently introduced its innovative card payment system to make traveling easier for passengers. This smart card allows customers to load money onto their card, which can then be used on any Northern Rail service. This is a convenient way for travelers to purchase tickets and avoid the hassle of queuing or carrying cash around. It also offers discounts to passengers when multiple trips are made or more prominent group tickets are bought in advance. The introduction of the smart card has been an excellent success for Northern Rail, making travel more convenient and cost-effective for customers.

The Smart Card Northern Rail is an innovative card payment system that provides convenient and secure payment solutions for customers across all train routes in the Northern region of England. The card allows passengers to purchase tickets without dealing with cash and can also be used to make payments at onboard retail outlets or staffed stations. This means that customers don’t have to worry about carrying cash or getting change, making the whole process easier, quicker, and much more convenient. Additionally, it enables customers to easily access all their travel information by simply presenting their card at any ticket office or automatic ticket machine while traveling.

Smart Card Northern Rail allows riders to pay for rail services with a simple card touch. This innovative technology simplifies traditional payment and gives riders more control over fares. With its flexible tariffs and easy access, Smart Card Northern Rail is an ideal solution for frequent travelers who want to save time and money when traveling by rail. The Smart Card Northern Rail payment system also helps operators manage their profitability by offering data insights, such as passenger count, usage rate, and peak hour patronage. This technology allows operators to make smarter decisions when planning fare adjustments and services to suit passengers’ needs better.

As a replacement for paper tickets, contactless smartcards are gradually being introduced on Great Britain’s National Rail system. Tickets on National Rail services can be loaded onto any ITSO card.

The ITSO standard has been developed to cover all types of public transport. It has been included as a requirement by the Department for Transport for all new rail franchises in the last few years.[when?] It is also the format in which ENCTS concessionary passes and rail staff passes are issued.

Three train operating companies have launched pay-as-you-go systems where fares are automatically deducted by touching in and out at the start and end of the journey. Branded as keyGo on Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and Tap2Go on South Western Railway (SWR), they require the use of GTR’s The Key and SWR’s Touch smartcard, respectively. Great Western Railway (GWR) also launched a pay-as-you-go system called GWR Touch in August 2022, which required the use of GWR’s Touch smartcard.

Brilliant Ticket Types: Smartcards

An RFID-enabled smartcard is the size of a credit card, storing rail tickets on a microchip and allowing users to tap into stations. They are available online from train operators’ websites and at stations. Smartcards are durable and reliable for regular use over many years.

How do I use a smart card?

Set up and use your card in 4 easy steps:

  • Register for your smartcard
  • Choose delivery to smartcard when you purchase tickets.
  • Tap your smartcard on a reader to load keys, go through the gates and start your journey.
  • Use your card again and again. The number of tickets you have on your card is unlimited.

You will start to see the smartcard symbol

This symbol represents where you can:

  • Purchase tickets for your smartcard
  • Load pre-purchased tickets
  • Tap to begin and end your journey
  • Smartcards can take up to 5 days to arrive by post. Why not register and have it ready for when you want to use it?
  • Always remember to tap your smartcard or scan your mobile tickets at the start and end of your journey
  • If an intelligent ticket reader is not available, ask a member of staff who will be able to assist you
  • On board, show your smart card or mobile ticket to the train crew for them to scan.

Brilliant Ticket Types: Mobile (Barcode) Tickets

There are three types of mobile tickets:

  • eTicket – An eTicket is a train ticket that is emailed directly to you
  • mTicket – An mTicket is a train ticket held on your mobile device in a rail travel app.
  • Socket – An ticket is a Season Ticket that is downloaded each time as a short-term barcode

All types include a barcode that holds your ticket information, which is scanned to validate it for travel.​​​​​​​

How do I use an eTicket?

  1. Purchase your tickets online and select the eTicket delivery option
  2. Open tickets from the email on your phone or print them at home
  3. Scan in and out at the ticket gate to go through and start your journey.

How do I use mTicket? 

  1. Purchase your tickets online and select the mTicket delivery option
  2. Open access in your mobile app, and when you are ready to travel, activate your ticket
  3. Scan in and out at the ticket gate to go through and start your journey.

How do I use a sTicket?

  1. Download a sTicket barcode ‘coupon’ to an app on a smartphone.
  2. Each sTicket coupon is valid for one journey and expires after 3-hours. If this is not enough time to complete a trip, another coupon will be generated
  3. Scan in and out at the ticket gate to go through and start your journey

Helpful hints for a smooth mobile ticket experience

Save time by creating an account with the train operator you use most frequently.

Be prepared, and download a rail app to store your mobile tickets in one place.

When using mobile tickets, ensure your phone is charged and your screen is in good condition so the barcode can be scanned and validated.

Always scan your mobile tickets at the start and end of your journey.

If an intelligent ticket reader is not available, ask a member of staff who will be able to assist you.

On board, show your mobile ticket to the train crew for them to scan.

Smart Cards are becoming an increasingly popular way of traveling in the north of England. The Northern Rail has been taking full advantage of Smart Card technology for many years now and is leading the charge in providing a more efficient and quicker means of travel from one point to another. With the introduction of paperless tickets and discounted fares for commuters, those looking to travel with Northern Rail have access to a whole suite of benefits that make the journey simpler, cheaper, and faster. With the implementation of Smart Card technology, Northern Rail makes it easier than ever to plan your trip from anywhere conveniently!

The Smart Card Northern Rail is an innovative ticketing system that helps passengers have a more convenient, cost-effective journey when traveling on Northern Rail trains. This card is tailored towards giving passengers easy access to tickets and a faster, smoother travel experience. It also works with various payment options, including contactless and mobile payments, allowing passengers to pay for their tickets on the go. With the Smart Card Northern Rail, passengers can seamlessly purchase, activate and use keys suitable in their own hands – making their daily commute worth looking forward to.

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Marta Lopez

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