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, location of the first production version. Harrington Humps are slowly being installed on other UK railway stations.
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. 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. Raising the level of a complete platform is relatively costly and in many instances beyond the means of Network Rail and local authorities. 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.
The Harrington Hump is a partial solution to this long standing problem of user access to railway carriages from relatively low station platforms. The Hump is a pair of ramps and a short flat top, built from a glass reinforced polymer, and capable of being designed to meet the width and height requirements of particular stations and to be installed in a few days. The cost of the Harrington Hump is also much cheaper than that of raising the entire length of the platform – on the order of 1/10th of the typical £250,000 cost.
The Hump was devised by Network Rail and Cumbria County Council, in conjunction with Pipex Structural Composites, and first installed at Harrington in December 2008. Harrington was chosen as the pilot site, it is claimed, because it has the greatest drop from train floor to platform, and because as a coastal station, it offered the harshest of environments in which to test the hump. Otherwise known as an "Easy Access Area", Network Rail has conceded that the structure will henceforth be known by its nickname, Harrington Hump.
The Hump is positioned to meet a particular door on a train – usually a door designed for wheelchair access. As such, the Hump is less suited to platforms served by different configurations of trains, such as Dalton railway station, served by two different train operators using different types of trains with wheelchair accommodation doors in different locations.
The Hump system won a Delivery of Customer Service Award at the 2009 Civil Service Diversity and Equality Awards.
- 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 two persons – actually 4
- Capable of installation in 3 days
Other UK station humps
Similar humps have been installed on the London Underground, such as between 2010–2011, all of the Victoria line stations except Pimlico; in this case the humps are of a masonry construction 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.
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