How can I buy a Smart season ticket?

You can do so online or on the Northern Android App (NFC capability is coming soon to our iOS app), at your local ticket office or at a Northern ticket machine.


Are there any differences between the smartcards issued at ticket offices and those you can order through the website?

They have small design differences but are otherwise the same. Cards ordered online can be used at Northern ticket offices and ticket machines, and vice versa.

What information do I have to provide when requesting a Smart card?

If you are a new season ticket holder we will ask for: Title, Forename, Surname, Address, email address, contact phone number.

What smart tickets can be bought through the Northern website?

The Northern website allows you to renew season tickets of any duration. It assumes that you have a Smart card already.

How long do I have to wait for a Smart ticket I have bought online to be available for collection?

It can take up to two hours for a ticket to be available for collection via either the Northern Android app or a ticket machine.

How do I load a Smart ticket bought online to my Smart card?

Tickets bought via the Northern Android App are automatically added to the card via its NFC functionality, however those bought via the Northern website must be loaded by one of the following means:

  1. Through the Northern app. This is by far the quickest and most convenient way to collect a ticket. Simply ensure phone’s NFC is switched on (the app will warn you if it isn’t) and press the ‘Read Smartcard’ icon at the bottom right hand corner of the screen. Hold your Smart card against your phone and if your new ticket is ready for collection, it will automatically load on to the card and show appear in our ‘active’ ticket list.
  2. At a Northern ticket machine. Present the smartcard you’ve chosen for the purchase to the machine by placing it in the Smart card reader. The machine will read your card and display its contents. Provided your new ticket is ready for collection, it will automatically be loaded onto your card - a message “New products have been downloaded to your card” will be displayed on the screen to confirm this. Pressing the ‘Home’ icon on the lower left of the ticket machine screen will refresh the display.

NOTE: There’s no need to press any of the ticket machine’s buttons when collecting a smart ticket – just place your Smart card in the Smart card reader and any tickets waiting to be collected will automatically be loaded. You can always check that it has loaded and the relevant expiry date by placing your card on the reader once more and then checking the screen display.

Can I collect a Smart ticket at any station, regardless of where my ticket’s journey begins?

(An example would be the collection of a Leeds to Harrogate season ticket at Bradford Interchange).

Yes. Both the Northern app and Northern ticket machines can be used to collect any ticket regardless of its origin and destination.

Can I collect at non-Northern stations?

It currently varies by operator, however the aim is for all stations in the North to offer this facility. Please ask station staff locally for further details as to which machines offer this facility.

TransPennine Express and East Midlands Rail stations have ticket machine collection facilities.

From 1 September, selected self-service ticket machines at LNER stations in the North (Newcastle, Durham, Darlington, York, Wakefield Westgate, Doncaster, Retford and Newark Northgate) will be upgraded to allow Smart ticket collection. Please note this Smart collection facilty does not extend to ticket offices or gate lines.

Virgin Trains do not currently have any, with the exception of a Northern ticket machine at Doncaster. The only Merseyrail station with smart collection facilities is Liverpool South Parkway.

How can I check my ticket has been successfully loaded to my Smart card?

You can use either the Northern Android App (NFC capability is coming soon to iOS!) or a Northern ticket machine to show what tickets are loaded on your card without having to make a purchase. Both will show active tickets and expired tickets.

How far in advance can I renew my smart season ticket?

The rules for renewal are the same as for paper tickets.

At a larger station where there are different ticket machines offered by different train companies, can I use any machine to collect my smart ticket?

Many larger stations have several types of ticket machine. Not all of these have yet been upgraded to allow smart ticket collection.

If you have a choice, you should always use a Northern ticket machine as these are fully smart ticket enabled and this will ensure your ticket collection is successful. Northern machines are blue and have the Northern logo at the top of the home screen – sometimes you may need to touch the machine to clear the screensaver in order to see the logo.

For some time I have renewed my paper season ticket through the Northern website. Now I am only offered smart tickets. Why is this?

This depends on the start date you have entered for your ticket. If you want a ticket quickly, the website assumes smart ticket, as this can be delivered to your card via the app within two hours.

Paper tickets have to be sent in the post, so a start date of at least a week in advance is needed. If you enter a date at least a week in advance, you will be offered both paper and smart.

I’ve entered a start date for my season ticket two weeks in advance, but I’m still not being offered a smart ticket for the journey I make, even though I have a smartcard registered to my website account.

A limited number of journeys are not available on smart tickets, and for these a paper season ticket must be purchased. The number of journeys available on smart tickets is increasing all the time as train companies upgrade their ticket and ticket gate equipment.