Network Rail to trial Parcel Shop Service at mainline stations

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Network Rail have announced they are about to test the concept of a parcel collection and delivery service at its mainline stations in a new initiative called Doddle. They say that it will be the only one of its kind that is available to every retailer, etailer, parcel carrier and shipper, creating a network of single points for the collection, return and sending of parcels.

Network Rail have decided to initially test the concept at Milton Keynes Central station with its 3,000 employees who are based near by and which is close to a number of key delivery operations. This will be followed closely by trials at London Paddington and Woking stations with other stations to follow throughout 2014 once the concept is proven, creating up to 4,000 new jobs.

The thing I really like about this concept is that it’s retailer and carrier agnostic. If you as a retailer wish to offer it as a service you’ll be able to sign up and offer it as an option at checkout. However you’ll still have the freedom to use whichever courier or mail service you choose.

If you’re a consumer you’ll also be able to sign up, in which case you’ll be given an address and account reference which you can choose to use when buying from any retailer in the country (or even potentially overseas retailers as well).

These dedicated parcel shops will be open seven days a week, early until late, enabling consumers to choose exactly how, when and where they send and receive parcels. There will be an easy-to-use transactional website and advanced touch point notifications through a Mobile App, SMS and email.

Peter Louden, Project Director, told us: “Our initial conversations with both leading retailers and carriers have been extremely positive with many indicating a desire to become an early adopter. They are excited by the fantastic locations and the guaranteed footfall which is expected to increase by 30 per cent by 2020.There are around 1.5 billion passenger journeys taking place every year plus a large proportion of the UK population lives within five miles of a railway station making it a highly convenient solution for many consumers”.

The Doddle trial is being run by the Network Rail group of companies, by converting redundant space within railway stations to dedicated parcel shops, Network Rail is looking to maximise the use of its assets and infrastructure by becoming more commercial and creating value.

This isn’t obviously going to be ideal for all consumers but it’s ideal for commuters. If you’re taking a daily train journey every day of the week, Doddle will allow you to simply pick up your online purchases as part of your daily commute, either from the mainline commuter station in the city, or from your local station when you arrive home.

If you’re interested in keeping up to date with developments from Doddle, you can sign up on their website holding page.

25 Responses

  1. Having been defrauded to the tune of £1500 a couple of years ago for multiple sales going to “mail boxes” type stores, this strikes me as yet another type of delivery address that any retailer should be very wary of sending goods to as a buyer who later reverses his payment will be virtually impossible to track down.

  2. TOCs (Train Operating Companies) seem hell bent on closing ticket offices so there will be plenty of space for Network Rail to use.

    Train tickets in the post, parcels at the railway station.


  3. Now if we could deliver a parcel to the train station and it be delivered by train the same day that would be an excellent service.

    (I used to it for sending rolls of film to newspapers)

  4. Sounds like a good idea. Although the woman in the picture has absolutely no interest in helping that man with his parcel.

  5. Good heavens, it sounds like the excellent Red Star service that was killed off by a bunch of Thatcherite accountants in the 1980s. It was the only way to get a parcel from one end of the country to the other on the same day, a service that doesn’t exist at present.

  6. At first glance it seems a very interesting idea. As said above the Train Operating Companies are planning to close Ticket Offices so there will be a lot of extra spare space in Stations. Certainly the larger Stations especially the London Termini seem ideal. But across the country there are many small stations. Many unmanned which are probably not suitable. Even small manned Stations are probably not suitable although in the good old days of Red Star Railway Parcel Services many small stations had a Red Star Office even if it did not have a dedicated Member of Staff. What used to happen was if you wanted to collect a Red Star parcel you presented yourself to the Members of Staff who were on duty and one of them would go and unlock the Red Star Office and hand over your parcel. So it is really only an old idea(Red Star) brought up to date.

  7. Well lets hope they sort out the parking; Our local station is a nightmare if you want to stop just for a minute or two

  8. Does anybody know if they will start to offer their own Red Star style service if this gets rolled out nationwide, or even reopen the business model and sell the rights to an existing courier company?

    Also, will they be manned, so would collecting a parcel require a signature, because that would remove the possibility of a charge back from a dodgy customer.

    Actually, if retailers were to get a charge back if you could log onto the site and report it that would be useful if you could also see if a customer had tried doing this kind of scam before.

  9. Online is door to door. This service will affect ebay feedback. ebay buyers are not going to go out of their way to pick up shipments. They will expect parcel to be taxied to their door. Use this type of service at your peril.

    Amazon drones are the future.

  10. Apart from the Red Star Parcel Services there were the normal Rail Parcel Services. I can remember those wonderful Scammell Mechanical Horses hauling the trailers full of parcels around towns and cities and indeed out into the country. Who today would believe that we used to have 3 wheel Articulated Lorry Tractors hauling trucks full of goods and parcels around our towns and cities.

    The last place I saw Mechanical Horses in active service was in the 1970’s down on the fish docks in Grimsby. There are still many on Preserved Railways etc. But I would guess that there are none left in active service. The ones on the Fish Docks survived so long because the roads on the Fish Docks in Grimsby were all private roads. I can remember seeing them running around with no headlights or headlights swinging on the ends of wires. It did not matter on private roads. But every day they were hauling trucks full of fish around the docks.

    At the time I was working for a company that had a depot down on the fish docks. If I was working in Grimsby during the week I had to call up the Accountants in the Group on about Thursday and take their fish orders. A stone of Cod here and a half a stone of Haddock there etc. Then I would phone the combined order through to our depot on the Docks and Friday afternoon I would go down on the Docks and pick up my order in fish boxes packed in ice. Then I would run it down to the south of the group dropping it off at the various Accountants homes on the way through. One Friday it was a scorcher. As I was running home the ice was melting. The air in the back of the car(A Brand New Borrowed Allegro Estate) was turning green. When I got home I took the carpets out of the car and put them over the washing line and played the hose pipe on them(for hours) they still stunk of fish. On the Monday I took the car back and told them what a great car it had been but the carpets all needed changing. They did I just could not get the stink of fish out of them. They could hardly say anything just about every Accountant(including the Chief Accountant and Financial Director) had had fish on the car.

  11. As he has only lived in this century that makes him 13 years old which when compared with the abysmal quality of so many of his postings seems about right. After all a while ago he was making abysmal quality postings about the fact that I am in my 60’s with health problems. Also Cambridge_Blue stated that all Cornishmen were mass murderers as he stated that we were all “Wreckers”.

    Perhaps it is time for him to stop posting until his one working brain cell is given an overhaul.

  12. Frankly most 13 year olds could construct a better & more rational argument than you can manage with your pointless postings of times past.
    Your health problems are of no interest to me whatsoever so stop playing for the sympathy vote yet again.
    Now do you want me to send ‘nursy’ down in the Bentley to wipe the spittle (or is it dribble) from your chin?
    God Bless ‘Trinity House’.
    pip pip

  13. I would suggest that you hang onto to your Mental Health Nurse – You have far more need for her services than I do.

    I have never seen any sign of a “better and more rational argument” in any of your previous postings. Normally your postings just contain snide comments.

  14. Nothing snide at all about pointing out that you seem to live in the past and most of your posts are usually pointless & tedious in my view.
    God Bless ‘Lady Killigrew’.
    pip pip


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