back to article It's a Doddle: Amazon inks train station parcel deal with Network Rail

Amazon has reportedly signed a deal with Network Rail’s Doddle to let Blighty customers pick up parcels from around 300 train stations across the country. Doddle, a joint venture of Network Rail and Travelex millionaire Lloyd Dorfman, is planning to invest £24m to get click-and-collect points into hundreds of stations over the …

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  1. Sleepy Bob

    Wonderful Idea

    I can't wait till my local station, with 1 window, and 1 person on duty, starts to do this. Awesome.

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Wonderful Idea

      I doubt there'll be any human element. It'll be a code controlled locker of some description.

      Presumably it'd be a two way street, and you could return stuff this way ?

      I still think there's a trick to be made for Amazon to come to a deal with one, or maybe *all* of the big supermarkets to piggyback onto their delivery networks. I appreciate the commercial realities would be for Tescos et al to say no (as they'd want to flog their own tat) but there's an upside that they might win some customers who plump for online groceries (where, after all, you ARE going to be in) just to get the Amazon stuff.

      If anyone from Amazon or Tesco/Sainsbury/Ocado want to contact me ...

    2. Vimes

      Re: Wonderful Idea

      Personally I'd be more interested in a cut in train ticket prices, since the train companies are unlikely to allow their stations to be used for free.

      Not that this would be likely of course, but I can always dream - we already have one of the most expensive train systems in Europe after all so anything would be welcome.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wonderful Idea

      Fuck me! The level of numskulled cynicism that comes from the majority of idiots that lurk here is beyond the fucking pale. So what if you have to fucking wait 10 minutes, because 'my local station, with 1 window, and 1 person on duty' might be busy! Surely the convienience of NOT taking a fucking day off work for a goddamned parcel that may or may not show up is worth a fucking 10 minute wait?

      1. Tompkinson
        Headmaster

        Re: Wonderful Idea

        Nice rant sir!

        May I congratulate you on one thing: While getting rather over-excited and wearing out a well-known profanity, you did spell goddamned correctly. An irate, well-read Englishman, very refreshing.

        I cannot say the same for the author of this article. It may be two corporations from the New World that are setting up this service with the help of what's left of British Rail but this is Great Britain and our railways run between railway stations. If you want to see a train station, catch an aeroplane across the Atlantic Ocean.

  2. ItsNotMe
    WTF?

    Sounds brilliant.

    OK...maybe not.

    So I pay a delivery fee to Amazon...for shipping company X to deliver a package to a train station...so I can therefore take time out of my commute home at the end of the day...to stop and pick up said package...and then carry it home myself...along with my briefcase...and laptop bag...and top coat...etc...etc...

    So just how do I sign up for this convenience?

    1. BigAndos

      Re: Sounds brilliant.

      I would sign up for it if they did this at tube stations. My local royal mail delivery office only opens from 7am to 12pm so at present if I get stuff delivered I have to pick it up in the morning and take it to work and back! Or get it delivered to work and take it all the way home.

    2. weebs

      Re: Sounds brilliant.

      Not everyone can have things delivered to their office. Not everyone can go home and see a package waiting for them. And not everyone has depots round the corner. This would be great for me. I get the train from Cannon Street, and this would actually make me use Amazon more for things, as the convenience of picking it up on the way home vastly outweighs the inconvenience of having to drive 25 minutes to the depot.

      1. Blackbird74

        Re: Sounds brilliant.

        The Amazon Locker service already provides most of this convenience, especially in cities. The question will be the cost. For a while, delivery to Lockers was free, but that was removed in April.

        Most likely "FREE for only £79 / year Amazon Prime membership", so really just another attempt to lock users in to a regular revenue stream.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sounds brilliant.

        "Not everyone can have things delivered to their office."

        Indeed not. It was tolerated for a while at my current employers until some c**t had a washing machine delivered to work - that gave the post room something to think about. Now I can get away with things up to the size of a book now, so long as I don't do it too often.

    3. TopOnePercent Silver badge

      Re: Sounds brilliant.

      and then carry it home myself...along with my briefcase...and laptop bag...and top coat...etc...etc...

      Well, you could always man up a little and stop hauling more shit around on your commute than my doris takes for a weekend away?

    4. Test Man

      Re: Sounds brilliant.

      >>"So I pay a delivery fee to Amazon...for shipping company X to deliver a package to a train station...so I can therefore take time out of my commute home at the end of the day...to stop and pick up said package...and then carry it home myself...along with my briefcase...and laptop bag...and top coat...etc...etc..."

      It's another delivery option for those that need it, you idiot.

  3. jb99

    Sounds ideal to me.

    If I could pick up my packages from the station when almost home that would be excellent.

    They'll probably do something silly like have opening hours of 8:00-18:00 making it useless :

    1. ItsNotMe
      Facepalm

      "If I could pick up my packages from the station when almost home that would be excellent."

      As opposed to picking them up from your front doorstep? You know...the one attached to your house.

      1. Trygve

        Re: "If I could pick up my packages from the station when almost home that would be excellent."

        On weekdays my postie rarely shows up before about 10AM, and delivers using some sort of gaussian algorithm. If I go to the office I leave at around 0730 or before, I then come back to either a damp rained-on parcel, or a parcel which is missing.

        If it is missing I then get to try to figure out if it's been left on someone elses doorstep, left with my neigbours rather than on my doorstep, or left on my doorstep and subsequently stolen. Delightful.

        Mind you, I'm not sure dealing with Railtrack would be any better, based on how craptastic their management of my local station is.

      2. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: Your Front Doorstep

        I'm awaiting a smart doorstep - perhaps one you could lift up to reveal a secure parcel store and the chamber to a garbage compactor and network of Lamson tubes whereby my recycling could be conveyed to China, or its other ultimate destination. Perhaps it could have an e-Ink surface defaulting to a display of "Welcome" but customisable for election season?

        Much more useful and fun to play with than most of the stuff you might actually have delivered...

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Your Front Doorstep @ Warm Braw

          The smart doorstep might have something going for it. OK, the rubbish squasher ("garbage compactor" is too American) and Lamson tubes are a bit on the silly side, but a compartment for leaving stuff seems sensible, especially for some types of building that don't have easy options for hidden storage. A quick search on the Devil's Own Search Engine* doesn't come up with anything on these lines, so maybe there is a business opportunity for someone.

          * Google, of course.

      3. Test Man

        Re: "If I could pick up my packages from the station when almost home that would be excellent."

        >>"As opposed to picking them up from your front doorstep? You know...the one attached to your house."

        Yeah, great idea to leave my valuable parcels on the front doorstep where anyone can simply take it. Or maybe I want to use it that same day and not piss around trying to use it in the evening after work? Idiot.

  4. Pete 2 Silver badge

    New spin on old idea

    I'm told that the victorians used to go to the railway station to buy their newspapers. Quite reasonable when you consider that they (as well the mail) were delivered by train.

    Considering that so few working people are at home during the only time that couriers seem able to organise deliveries, if this threatens to take away a significant portion of their business and makes them buck up their ideas, it can only be a good thing.

    Though it does give rise for a whole new set of excuses as to why your package has been delayed. How long until Amazon has to start apologizing for leaves on the line?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not sure my brain is capable of coming up with an idea dumber than using train stations to be the delivery point for items and then not using the rail network to delivery those items.

  6. Christoph Silver badge

    Deliver to no-longer-manned suburban tube station.

    Pick up from locker late night when getting home from the pub.

    Head out half-drunk, in dark, from known collection point with expensive gadget under arm.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    1. ClammyLammy
      Pint

      I see your point, but I'm not really sure you can blame the system for the drunken state in which you choose to use it...

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      FAIL

      And for us country bumpkins

      1) Deliver to unmanned rural station

      2) Thieves smash their way into said lockers and make off with the items

      OR

      2) Thieves wait for the infrequent trains and for the odd passenger to get off and remove items from lockers. Then the relieve the unfortunate person of thei goods and diasppear into the night.

      Fail, mega fail.

      Nice idea but really.... Did anyone think this through?

      1. Test Man

        Re: And for us country bumpkins

        Yeah, I'm sure the thieves will like to steal my box of nappies, or box of Hot Liquid Seasoning, etc.

        Idiot.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Collectplus?

    Order online, deliver to local cornershop of your choice so long as it's on the Collect+ network, collect whenever the cornershop is open. Already has more dropoff points than doddle ever will. Don't see how doddle can survive, but they say there's one born every minute.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      Re: Collectplus?

      Except that not one of our local corner shops wants anything to do with it. They reckon it is all work and no revenue.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Collectplus?

        "They reckon it is all work and no revenue."

        Maybe so, which is one reason why, when collecting, I'll usually buy something there that I would have bought anyway.

        I mean anything's gotta be a better option than Yodel, right?

        Ebuyer are you listening? Do not ever again "upgrade" me from paid for next day delivery that works, to "free, next day" delivery from Yodel that doesn't.

        1. Mike Flex

          Re: Collectplus?

          "Ebuyer are you listening? Do not ever again "upgrade" me from paid for next day delivery that works, to "free, next day" delivery "

          Ebuyer? "Free, next day" delivery?

          Well, I certainly got that impression from the sales page (next morning, even) but on arriving at the checkout page it was 'free' OR 'next day' delivery. Free was 5 days. 5 working days, that is, so actually 7 days. (I was threatened with 9 days for my last order, placed on a Friday afternoon, but it did turn up in 7 days.)

      2. Hardcastle the ancient

        Re: no revenue

        a downvote? I can't fathom why. Here, have an upvote!

  8. Grease Monkey

    Hold on though. Which stations are actually run by network rail? I thought they'd farmed most of the stations out to be run by train operators. As such shirley network rail have no say over what goes on in those stations.

    Most of the stations hereabouts are unstaffed anyway, but neither of the two that are are operated by network rail.

    1. graham_
      Coat

      Re: Which stations are actually run by network rail?

      Well I popped your question into the google and found they only run 19 stations, with 11 being in London.

      Thankfully every train I've got out of Waterloo at rush hour has had plenty of room for extra luggage. Mines the coat on a seat with all my Christmas shopping under it.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At the end of the day, it's a good idea for the simple fact that if you want to use it, you can, if you don't, then you wont.

    Only winners in this one. TfL gets revenue from closed office space, Amazon gets more delivery locations and a possible uptake in purchases because of this, and the service user gets easier access to parcels.

    If the lockers get broken into, then it's all covered by Amazon's insurance anyway, so no-one loses apart from the big guy.

    Why do people get antsy about things like this? If you aren't going to use it, it will never affect you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Megaphone

      You're being rational! Don't you know that there is no place for that here?

  10. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    You realise this agreement is not for random things you buy from Amazon, but 'retailers...signed up to the service'. Maybe it would include shipments from Amazon's own warehouses, but not all the many 3rd-party sellers.

    What a pity : all they're doing is arranging for these companies' delivery trucks to call at railway stations, thus reducing their delivery costs. Just like eBay's similar trial. It's not an alternative postal service.

  11. Diogenes

    In the not so dim distant past ...

    railways actually used to run a small parcels service and you collected the item from the station. It was run competition with the Post Office (and courier companies were few and far between & incredibly expensive)

  12. Gannettt

    On the face of it a great idea, i think they still have the Red Star sign up at Gloucester station. I'm sure there are a good many stations with tons of unused office space, since everything seems to have been farmed out to corporate HQs, etc. Gloucester has a whole floor above the station which, I'm told, is empty. Am I correct in saying that the stuff will be delivered by road, though? Crazy.

    I see that this is very much London-centered, though - we plebs outside the M225 are obviously too poor to generate enough revenue to justify expanding it in our direction!

  13. Phil Endecott Silver badge

    RAILWAY STATION

    It's RAILWAY STATION, not TRAIN STATION, you ignorant people.

    </rant>

    1. Norman Hartnell

      Re: RAILWAY STATION

      Agreed - and yet it's a "bus station", not a "road network station".

      Ain't English wonderful?

  14. Qu Dawei

    Why not add a lot of places?

    Ok. Railway stations, like the old Red Star or BR Parcels service. But why not any local Post Office? That would at least give them a chance of being kept open, but I do appreciate that with many of them now inside other kinds of shops that there may be agreement and opening hours problems.

  15. Dave Bell

    Maybe good for commuters, not so good for the rest of us. Locally, the Amazon Locker sustem seems optimised for motorists, but it is not compulsory.

    Mind you, I'm not sure I trust Amazon, not when they're using their search, sales, and stock system as a weapon in a dispute with a publisher. Amazon not wanting to sell books? What is the world coming to?

  16. jof62

    So, even longer to wait

  17. Norman Hartnell
    Facepalm

    The Axe

    If only Dr Beeching hadn't removed the branchline that would have made this a useful thing to me instead of a 10-mile drive.

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