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The Harrington Hump


Harrington a request stop on the Cumbrian Coastal Railway between Workington and Whitehaven (the top left hand corner of England beyond the Lake District.

The old and the new at Harrington. Harrington Humps the old and the new

15 December 2008 having gone from conception to delivery in just over 12 months.

Harrington is like many other small stations across the network serving its local community in much the same way as for the last 150 years (it was an early railway) – the trouble is that the platforms were set at the height of those old Victorian trains, the trains have changed but the platforms have not! Harrington is a small village, the station is not the most used on the network and it would never qualify for NSIP or investment by any conventional criteria. Rule of thumb puts conventional platform raising for stations like Harrington at £250000 per platform at present day prices – oh and by the way we need to close the railway while we do it – oh and by the way it might be a station change and require a full DDA compliant scheme so the cost might be higher still – oh and by the way it might have to go in to a prioritised queue…….you get the point.

Train step to platform in the wrong place with a 156 unit was 27”. The proverbial “little old ladies” have to sit on the step of the carriage and make an undignified gravity assisted descent to the platform from that position – we have another station in Cumbria where the proprietor of the local shop will meet her friends off the train with her shop step stool by arrangement!! (Perhaps a definition of community rail)

A very real problem with no obvious hope of solution.

Cumbria County Council / Cumbrian Coast Community Rail Partnership / Department for Transport / Network Rail / Northern Rail / Pipex

There must be a solution – some internet research by our local station manager established the principlel that modular structures could be bought which might fit the bill. Network Rail and Commercial Supplier Pipex identified a suitable GRP structure.

Must be:

  • 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 two men – actually 4
  • Capable of installation in 3 days

All these criteria were met in the solution; allowing for some “minor hiccups” in a pilot project – to be addressed both in design terms and experience gained.

The outcome is a low platform mitigation solution capable of widespread use at an indicative cost of £25000 per platform.


  1. Because everyone involved wanted to do it. Nobody filed it in too hard to do / we don’t do it like that.
  2. Its Innovative
  3. Its Low Cost
  4. Improved accessibility to transport
  5. A Sustainable transport solution
  6. Possible solution to >300 platforms across the Network


The new ramp and a Northern 153

Finally and probably most importantly

Goodwill / trust / partnership

John Kitchen Rail Officer Cumbria