Railway reopened after a four-year freeze

The Cairngorm mountain funicular will reopen to the public on Thursday, four years after being closed due to structural problems.

The UK’s highest railway was mothballed in September 2018.

A £20m injection of funding from the Scottish Government was awarded in 2020, with £16m earmarked for repairs.

The owner of the Cairngorm estate, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), had hoped to have the funicular railway back up and running by winter 2021, but the pandemic, problems with the supply of quality building materials and bad weather have delayed the repair work.

The funicular was opened in 2001 and connects a base station to a restaurant and a ski area at more than 1,065m on the Cairn Gorm mountain.

Susan Smith, managing director of Cairngorm Mountain Scotland Ltd, said: “The Cairngorm Mountain team are thrilled to once again welcome snow sports enthusiasts to the funicular.

“Improvements across the resort have made major changes to the visitor experience and we are so pleased to see the Rail Transportation staff to the upper tracks and our refurbished Ptarmigan building.

Read more:
Firefighter ‘critical’ after fire broke out in former Jenners building in Edinburgh
‘You could hear the screams’ in Darvel the night they ‘humiliated’ Aberdeen

“Weather permitting and with the hope that our capacity will expand further as the season continues, 2023 promises to be a landmark year for our business, team and local community.”

The “complex engineering” work to consolidate the viaduct and install a new control system was further complicated by the fact that the technicians had to avoid causing damage to the mountain environment.

“Rigorous” rail testing and a safety certificate from the UK Department for Transport were required before it could be made available to the public.

Weather permitting, the funicular will operate a regular service taking visitors to the top of the slopes in around five minutes.

The railway restoration comes alongside other work including new ‘magic carpet’ conveyor belts for beginner tracks, improved parking and the refurbishment of the Ptarmigan Building.

Dave Macleod, Head of Property and Infrastructure at HIE, said: “Rehabilitating the funicular was a unique challenge, not only in engineering terms, but also because of the care that has been taken to protect the environment during this work, whilst still competing in some of the harshest and most changeable weather Scotland has to offer.

“Cairngorm plays an important role in the local economy as an environmental, educational and sporting asset and the funicular will enable people of a wide range of ages and abilities to enjoy the mountains not just in winter but in any season.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *