The Cairngorm funicular railway will be closed for at least a month – just to let engineers work out how long it will take to fix, it has emerged.
Cairngorm Mountain and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the tenant and owner of the site respectively, announced yesterday that the
With last year’s ski season starting in November, any work will come dangerously close to interrupting the crucial – and lucrative – winter months.
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Specialist engineers from Glasgow based Cowi have been drafted in alongside ADAC engineers who usually carry out work on the rail line, as investigations turn to the structures supporting the track.
An HIE spokesman said: “The issue relates to a bearing between two of the concrete structures on the rails that allow for expansion and contraction due to the weather conditions.
“Engineers are concerned with how much scope this allows for and they are concerned over how much movement there is.
“Engineers have been on site this week and will continue to be present over the coming weeks.”
The Save the Ciste campaign has long called for chairlifts to be reinstated to provide alternative uplift for times as the funicular railway is closed or late in opening due to drifting snow.
Alan Brattey of the Save the Ciste campaign said: “The fact the funicular is closed for October and the uncertainty into the future – it is going to hugely have a negative effect on business here this coming winter.
“There is no other alternative way to get people up the hill. That is not new news. The Save the Ciste campaign has been telling them this for 10 years now.
“HIE is fully responsible. They opted to be bound to a long-term strategy that seen the rationalisation of all uplift infrastructure. The responsibility lies firmly on their shoulders.”
Avid skiers have now been left in the lurch over whether or not they will be able to access the hill over winter, with report findings not due until November when the necessary remedial work will be established.
A Cairngorm Mountain spokeswoman said: “The current situation with the funicular structure has only come to light in the last few weeks, following a specialised structural inspection. This is a new observation and not related to the beam issues which were identified and fully repaired last summer. The concerns relate to structures supporting the track.
“We were in touch with season pass holders yesterday, explaining that the funicular will be closed until engineers have concluded their investigation. We have committed to informing season pass holders of the outcome of the investigation and the potential impact on the ski season.”