Rail service improvements and disruptions

20.12.18

Cairngorm funicular report into UK’s highest railway delayed again

The publication of a report into the safety of the UK’s highest railway and its structural issues has been further delayed until 2019.

The Cairngorms funicular railway, which carries tourists, skiers, and snowboarders at the CairnGorm Mountain snowsports centre near Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands, connects to a base station more than a thousand meters up Cairn Gorm mountain.

The mountain railway was taken out of action in September amid fears over the supporting structure and specialist engineers were brought in to assess the situation.

The engineers have been delayed and hampered by poor weather, which has left business leaders and politicians frustrated ahead of the final report being published and then the railway being fixed.

The report was expected in December, however the owner and operator of the railway and the sports centre, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), has confirmed the further delay.

A spokesperson for HIE, which took over operations after Cairngorm Mountain Ltd last week after it plunged into administration, said: “The report into the funicular has been further delayed by the weekend storm, so we won’t be able to say anything about it until January now.”

The report was originally due in November, but hopes that the remedial works on the railway could be carried out in time for the winter season have been dashed.

Mike Dearman, director of Aviemore and Glenmore Community Trust, said: “It’s disappointing that we won’t know the fate of the funicular for a while longer, but we appreciate that conditions on the mountain are very difficult and the delay can’t be helped.

But Mike Gale, chairman of the Aviemore Business Partnership, said the area was "robust and very much open for business as usual.”

He said: “In our history we have coped with booms and busts.

“We have had winters with no snow and we just carried on. We are good at adapting in Aviemore.”

Image credit - David Cheskin/PA Archive/PA Images

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