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December 3, 2013

Network Rail to pilot parcel shops concept at Milton Keynes Central station

Network Rail will pilot a parcel shop scheme at Milton Keynes Central station, after researching and monitoring the retail sector for more than a year.

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Network Rail will pilot a parcel shop scheme at Milton Keynes Central station, after researching and monitoring the retail sector for more than a year.

Further trials of the concept, called Doddle, will be carried out at London Paddington and Woking stations, while other stations will follow throughout 2014, subject to the results of the pilot.

Doddle is a joint venture with Lloyd Dorfman, who is best known for creating the Travelex Group.

"We have the potential to create an unrivalled parcel delivery and collection service."

Network Rail network operations managing director Robin Gisby said: "More people are travelling by rail than ever before and stations have become more than just a place to wait for, or get off a train.

"We’ve adapted to what passengers want and need by offering quality retail, food and drink at our biggest stations such as King’s Cross and Manchester Piccadilly and this is a natural next step to help passengers and station users whose lives are increasingly busy and on the move.

"With 2,500 stations nationwide and passengers making over 1.5 billion rail journeys every year we have the potential to create an unrivalled parcel delivery and collection service to meet the needs of rail users and those living near to stations."

The parcel shops will be open throughout the week, and will let them to select how, when and where they send and receive parcels. A website and advanced touch point notifications will support the initiative through a mobile app, SMS and e-mail.

The concept is designed to maximise the use of assets and infrastructure at stations. It is expected to create about 4,000 new jobs.

Project director Peter Louden said: "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% by 2020."

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