I will be visiting London for the first time and staying near Bond Street station. I want to visit Windsor by train. Apparently the best option is to take an Elizabeth line train from Bond Street to Slough and a GWR train from there to Windsor & Eton Central.

I tried looking for this journey on the National Rail website, which sends me to the GWR website to book an Anytime Day Single. (I don't want to book the return in advance since I might want to return by the Waterloo route.) The GWR website allows me to book this ticket but says I must collect it at a station, for which Bond Street is listed as an option: Collect your ticket fron the station, with Bond Street (Elizabeth Line) (BDS) selected

I have the following questions:

  • Is it really possible to collect this at Bond Street?
  • If not, can I get a ticket to Windsor at the ticket office/machine at Bond Street? Or do I need to book to Slough and buy the Slough-Windsor ticket there? (In which case I'd prefer to go via Waterloo rather than trying to find the ticket office during a short 19 min transfer in an unfamiliar country.)
  • Similarly, on the return, can I get a ticket to Bond Street at Windsor if I decide to take this route?

Apparently contactless cards are valid for this, but I don't have one, and Oyster cards are not valid.

Edit: National Rail explicitly says it isn't possible to collect tickets at Bond Street. So there's a conflict between National Rail and GWR. Collect tickets bought online: No

  • 1
    Yes, there is no option to download the ticket here. Apparently e-tickets can't be used for journeys involving TfL. Commented May 25 at 7:23
  • 1
    I was doubtful about collection as Bond Street isn't a normal National Rail station and might only have TfL ticket machines. Further, I already mentioned I don't have a contactless card. Commented May 25 at 7:24
  • 3
    If you have a smartphone or smartwatch it is likely easy and fast to add contactless payments and it is really helpful.
    – Willeke
    Commented May 25 at 7:41
  • 4
    @user16790133 You don't have contactless so that wouldn't work anyways, but Bond Street to Slough off peak is 9£ on contactless not 15 (Slough is contactless only) Commented May 25 at 8:14
  • 2
    Note that for the mainline trains, a return ticket is normally only a few percent more than a single. There is no obligation to use the return ticket (unlike airplanes etc). It might well be better to buy a return ticket, even if you're not sure that you will use it
    – CSM
    Commented May 25 at 10:51

1 Answer 1


Apologies, my previous answer was wrong. I have now visited Bond Street to get the following answer

While some Elizabeth Line ticket vending machines (TVMs) support Tickets on Departure (ToD), the system to allow for collection of pre-paid tickets, for some reason those in the core central section of London have this functionality disabled. I don't know why this is but it's rather frustrating.

Poster explaining that ticket collection is not available at Bond Street

You have two options — either buy the ticket online and pick it up from a different, mainline station; or just buy it from the ticket machine on the day. The ticket machines take card only. There is no price advantage to buying in advance on this route.

For others reading this, I would highly recommend using contactless instead of buying a paper ticket. Google Pay and Apple Pay are also supported in addition to contactless credit and debit cards. Simply tap your card at the ticket barriers at the start of your journey, and tap the same card at your destination. This is cheaper and easier than a paper ticket, likely even when accounting for foreign transaction fees. However the question asker has stated they don't have a contactless card.

Note as well that the station you pick online doesn't actually matter (it's just to verify that collection facilities are available), so if you happen to pass through another mainline railway station on your travels you can collect it from there instead, even if you picked a different collection station during the purchase. If for instance you're visiting London via an airport it's likely there will be TVMs at that airport's railway station at which you can collect your ticket.

If you choose to purchase your tickets at Bond Street, here's how to do it:

  1. Locate an Elizabeth Line entrance; as opposed to a London Underground entrance. There is one on Hanover Square, and also one by the main Bond Street tube station, just past the London Underground entrance on Davies Street (pictured).

Photo of Davies Street entrance to Bond Street

  1. Tap By Destination.

Photo of the Elizabeth Line TVM main screen

  1. Start typing "Windsor" and select Windsor & Eton Central.

Photo of destination finding screen of Elizabeth Line TVM

  1. If you are coming back the same day, tap Return today (it is a lot cheaper to buy a return ticket for this route than two singles), otherwise tap Single. Tap through the confirmation.

Single/return screen of Elizabeth Line TVM Contactless confirmation of Elizabeth Line TVM

  1. It should offer you off-peak or anytime fares depending on the time of day you are buying. Pick the single or return ticket as appropriate (I don't know why both options are listed when it asked which you wanted on the previous screen!), and tap confirm.

Ticket type selection of Elizabeth Line TVM

  1. Finally, pay by credit or debit card

Payment screen of Elizabeth Line TVM

Note that if you have an existing Day Travelcard on a paper ticket, you can also use the "Travelcard extensions" button to extend this to Windsor rather than having to buy a completely new ticket; this will work out cheaper.

At Bond Street you will want to wait on Platform B for a train to either Reading or Maidenhead; do not catch a Paddington or Heathrow train as you will have to change again. Get off at Slough and walk to Platform 1 for the shuttle to Windsor — this is a small diesel train which goes back and forth all day.

If you decided to stay the night in Windsor and thus need to buy a single ticket back (as opposed to having bought a day return ticket at Bond Street), here's how to buy the right ticket on the GWR ticket machines you will find at Windsor & Eton Central (I took these photos at Paddington and Reading, but the ticket machines should have the same software):

  1. Tap A-Z Station Finder

GWR ticket machine home screen

  1. Start typing "London" and scroll down to London Underground Zone 1. The Elizabeth Line is not London Underground, but these are nonetheless the tickets valid from National Rail stations. Don't bother trying to search for Bond Street; you will not find it. Do NOT fall into the trap of just selecting "London Terminals", as this ticket is only valid as far as Paddington, not through the Elizabeth Line core to Bond Street.

Destination finding screen of GWR TVM

  1. Select One Way

Single/return screen of GWR TVM

  1. Select Anytime Day Single and tap Confirm Your Selection (note there are no off-peak single fares for this route). Also note there is no point getting first class on this route, as virtually none of the trains on this route have first class accommodation any more!

Ticket type selection of GWR TVM

  1. Confirm the details and tap Press here to pay now

Confirmation screen of GWR TVM

  1. Pay with a credit or debit card (it is possible the machines will take cash as well but I wouldn't rely on it).

Payment screen of GWR TVM

From Windsor & Eton Central catch a train from the only platform to Slough, then cross to Platform 5 (usually, though occasionally at weekends during engineering work they might use 3) for an Elizabeth Line train to Abbey Wood, Shenfield, or Gidea Park.

  • I have recently had that two return tickets for two people traveling together were cheaper than two one way tickets.
    – Willeke
    Commented May 28 at 11:13
  • Thanks @Muzer! then the info on the National Rail website that online tickets can't be collected at Bond Street needs to be corrected, I guess... Commented May 28 at 13:53
  • @user16790133 I've just found out that this functionality might be disabled on the machines in the Elizabeth Line core, even though they are capable of doing it! What a mess. I'll go out and investigate today and report back. In the event that it doesn't work I'd suggest that your best bet is buying them directly from the machine on the day (there's no price disadvantage to doing this). I'll also verify that such tickets are available for you when I go. Sorry if you've already bought the ticket; in that case I'd suggest picking them up from the airport station or another mainline station...
    – Muzer
    Commented May 29 at 10:14
  • @user16790133 ...or emailing the issuer and asking for a refund (quoting the fact that you were incorrectly told you'd be able to pick up the tickets at Bond Street). But hold off yet, I'll go out this evening to experiment.
    – Muzer
    Commented May 29 at 10:14
  • @Muzer, thanks for taking the effort! I've anyway decided that thanks to the uncertaintly I won't be buying in advance, I'd rather turn up there and if I can't get a ticket to Windsor at Bond Street I'll be taking the tube to Waterloo and buying a ticket for the direct train from there :) Commented May 29 at 15:44

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