Northwich passengers get the Hump! ….

Posted on March 18th, 2011, by The Chairman

For many years, indeed just about since MCRUA was set up back in 1987, we’ve been trying to get the platforms raised at Northwich. It’s not that they’ve sunk, it’s just that with the modern track maintenance régime with mechanised tampers needing more ballast to be under the track, the tracks have risen.

24 years later, and we’re almost there.

Below is a press release sent out by Network Rail on Wednesday.


16/03/2011 14:16


Passengers using Northwich rail station on the Manchester to Chester line are going to find it a whole lot easier to get on and off trains once Network Rail installs a ‘Harrington Hump’ on each platform.

Funded by Northern Rail and Cheshire West & Chester Council, work will start on Monday 21 March and could be completed by the weekend. The humps will be fixed on the platforms to correspond with the normal stopping place of the trains’ disabled access door.

Jo Kaye, Network Rail route director, said: “We have found a novel solution to an age old problem that has caused concern for numerous potential rail passengers throughout the country who simply could not travel by train because of the low platform height.

“It is the ideal solution for stations that have a small number of passengers and therefore the comparatively high cost of completely rebuilding the platforms is not viable.”

Mark Barker, client and stakeholder manager for Northern Rail, comments: “We are delighted to work in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council and Network Rail to make improvements allowing passengers, who have previously been unable to travel by train, to use the rail network.”

Charlie Seward, the council’s director of regeneration and culture said: “The difference in height between trains and the platforms at Northwich has been a long standing problem for rail passengers and an issue that Cheshire West and Chester Council promised to tackle. We are pleased that partnership working with Northern Rail, Network Rail and the Council has led to the installation of two Harrington humps.”

Nicknamed the ‘Harrington Hump’, it is a system for raising the height of platforms which in the past have been too low for all but the most able-bodied of rail travellers to use. Now, passengers who have previously been denied access to the railway network could have untold journey opportunities opened up to them.

Initially developed in a joint initiative between Network Rail and Cumbria County Council, the system can be custom built to suit the needs of a particular station and installed in a matter of days at a fraction of the accepted cost of rebuilding the platform.

Note to editors:

This is a photo of a hump on Harrington station, Cumbria

The Hump at Harrington

Railways first came to Britain almost 200 years ago. Different stations were built by different railway companies and there was no uniformity in their design. Consequently, the height of the platforms varied considerably.

This has left a legacy of stations for the modern-day railway that simply cannot be used by the elderly, by parents with children in buggies, by those with lots of luggage, and of course, the disabled.

The answer is a glass reinforced polymer – more commonly known as plastic – hump that comes in sections so it can built to any length. It is also variable in height so it will suit any platform, no matter how large the difference in height between the platform surface and stepping board of the trains. And, all important, it comes with ramps, making it ideal for anyone to use.

Low platforms are a typical problem for rural stations, where they are only served by a handful of trains a day but are regarded as the lifeblood of the community. Unfortunately, finding typically half a million pounds to rebuild two station platforms simply cannot be justified in most cases.

Now it can be done for as little as a tenth of the cost, making it much more affordable. This is in turn means more people can use the trains, and the increase in passenger numbers can be the catalyst for further investment in the local railway, enhancing it even more to meet the increased demand.

The Harrington Hump is manufactured by Pipex Structural Composites of Plymouth, Devon. For further information contact Graham Carson or David Bateman on 01752 581200 or visit


We don’t think that whoever wrote the words for Jo Kaye realised that Northwich is hardly a rural station served by only a few trains a day and with just a handful of passengers!

The official opening will probably be in May, though it will be in use well before this. Watch this space for more info.

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