26th September 2023
The funicular railway at Cairngorm Mountain looks set to remain out of operation until mid-October. It’s the latest setback to the troubled lift. NEW
The 2km ride from the Cairngorm base station was withdrawn on Friday 25 August to enable a series of snagging works to be carried out.
We reported on it at the time on PlanetSKI:
It followed an inspection showing that some of the ‘scarf joint assemblies’ that link the beams at the top of the piers did not meet the required tension.
Since then, contractors appointed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), which owns Cairngorm Estate, have been working to address the issue.
Earlier this month, HIE reported that the timetable was being kept under review.
It indicated that works were progressing well and expected to conclude by the end of September.
Now, however, the agency says the scale and complexity of the project, which includes continuous testing to ensure public safety, has led it to revise its schedule to complete in mid-October.
The funicular had been relaunched in January this year, following a two-year programme of works to strengthen the viaduct that supports the railway track.
The need to increase the tension on scarf joints was picked up as part of a 12-month snagging and inspection programme that had been running since the relaunch, as is usual practice with complex engineering projects.
A spokesperson for HIE said: “We recognise that this will be disappointing news for visitors to Cairngorm Mountain.
“Safety has to be the first priority and it’s vital that the snagging works are not only implemented effectively but also subject to rigorous testing, and these are jobs that can’t be rushed.
“The teams are working hard, seven days a week, to move the project along at pace and bring the funicular back safely into service at the earliest opportunity.
“Based on the experience we’ve gained since these works began a few weeks ago, we now believe mid-October is a realistic target date to work towards.”
In the meantime, Cairngorm Mountain remains open, with access available to a wide range of family-friendly activities and facilities in the heart of the national park.
These include the newest addition of a mountain bike park, fun tubing slides for all ages, café, walking trails, a mountain garden, and camera obscura.
Skiers and snowboarders are hoping all the problems can be fixed before the ski season gets underway.