Harrington Hump

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Harrington Hump at Aberdovey railway station

The Harrington Hump is a modular and easy-to-install system by which the height of a railway platform can be increased at relatively low cost. The system takes its name from Harrington railway station in Cumbria, England, which is the location of the first production version. From 2011, Harrington Humps have been installed slowly at other railway stations in the UK.


Platform height across the UK rail network is not standardised; at the time of the construction of the network, different railway companies settled on different platform heights.[1] Platforms sited low (compared to the level of the train carriage floor) present entry and exit problems to mobility-impaired train users, including wheelchair users.[1] Raising the level of a complete platform is relatively costly and in many instances beyond the means of Network Rail and local authorities.[2] The impetus for the hump, it is claimed, was a complaint by the chairman of the Copeland Rail Users' Group about low platforms on the Cumbrian Coast Line causing users difficulty in alighting from trains, made at Allerdale Area Transport Advisory Group, a sub-committee of Cumbria County Council's Local Committee. A suggestion of a partial raising of platforms was made to parry a Network Rail assertion that remedial work would cost a "six-figure sum" per station.[3]

The Hump[edit]

The Harrington Hump is a partial solution to this long-standing problem of user access to railway carriages from relatively low station platforms.[1][2] The Hump is a pair of ramps and a short flat top, built from a glass-reinforced polymer; it is capable of being designed to meet the width and height requirements of particular stations, and to be installed in a few days.[2] Installing a Harrington Hump is also much cheaper than raising the entire length of the platform – on the order of 1/10th of the typical £250,000 cost.[2]

The Hump was devised by Network Rail and Cumbria County Council, in conjunction with Pipex Structural Composites,[2] and was installed first at Harrington railway station in December 2008.[3] Harrington was chosen as the pilot site, it is claimed, because it has the greatest drop from train floor to platform and, as a coastal station, it offered the harshest of environments in which to test the hump.[3] Otherwise known as an "Easy Access Area",[4] Network Rail has conceded that the structure will be known henceforth by its nickname, Harrington Hump.[2]

The Hump is positioned to meet a particular door on a train, usually one designed for wheelchair access.[2] As such, the Hump is less suited to platforms served by different configurations of trains, such as at Dalton railway station, where wheelchair accommodation doors are often located in different positions.[5]

The second Hump was installed at St Albans Abbey railway station and the third at Aberdovey railway station.[6] Other stations to receive Humps include Northwich, Flixton, Whaley Bridge, Eccles, Kents Bank and Hadfield.[7]

The Hump system won a Delivery of Customer Service Award at the 2009 Civil Service Diversity and Equality Awards.[8]

In February 2019, a Hump was proposed for Marsden railway station in West Yorkshire; this would alleviate the issue of a 45 cm drop from train to platform[9]

Innovative aspects[edit]

According to the Association of Community Rail Partnerships,[10] innovative aspects of the Hump are that it is:

  • Cheap
  • Not requiring possession to install
  • Capable of local hand assembly without large power tools
  • Capable of being used across the network
  • Good design life (50 years)
  • Safe and providing standard height access to train
  • Meet Network standards or provide reason for variation
  • Preferably capable of installation by four persons
  • Capable of installation in 3 days

Other UK station humps[edit]

Similar humps have been installed on the London Underground, such as between 2010 and 2011, all of the Victoria line stations except Pimlico; in this case the humps are of a masonry construction[11][12] and thus are not Harringtons. The impetus for their installation are the Rail Vehicle Accessibility (Non Interoperable Rail System) Regulations 2010 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.[13][14]


  1. ^ a b c "Station hump helps train access". BBC New website. 3 December 2009. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Cumbria Town Takes Its Place in Railway History". Network Rail press release. 9 June 2009. Archived from the original on 31 May 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "Harrington hump is democracy in action". Hexham Courant. 26 November 2009. Archived from the original on 2 June 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  4. ^ "Valley Station to get a New Hump". Network Rail press release. 11 May 2010. Archived from the original on 31 May 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  5. ^ "Problems and lack of cash delay work on rail station". North West Evening Mail. 25 January 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
  6. ^ "UK Rail Station Installs Harrington Hump". Railway-Technology.com. 14 August 2009. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
  7. ^ Samuel, A (9 August 2011). "'Harrington Hump' installed at Northwich rail station". Rail.co. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
  8. ^ "'Harrington Hump' triumphs in national awards". Cumbria County Council press release. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
  9. ^ "Marsden 'danger platform' to be fixed". BBC News. 16 February 2019.
  10. ^ "The Harrington Hump". The Association of Community Rail Partnerships website. The Association of Community Rail Partnerships. Archived from the original on 2 October 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
  11. ^ "Tube Update Plan – Victoria". Transport for London website. Transport for London. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  12. ^ "Creating Step Free Access for All" (PDF). Marshalls Ltd website. Marshalls Ltd. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 November 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  13. ^ "Victoria Line Platform Humps and RVAR". Livis Ltd website. Livis Ltd. Archived from the original on 11 November 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  14. ^ "Victoria Line Platform Humps and RVAR" (PDF). Livis Ltd website. Livis Ltd. Retrieved 6 December 2011.[permanent dead link]