An investigation carried out by engineering group COWI between September and December last year has found that although the railway line presents no immediate danger to the public, the safety margin is lower than desirable; it concludes that steps should be taken to address structural weaknesses prior to a resumption of service.
Work is required to strengthen the piers, beams and foundations, and install new bearings with higher load and movement capacity.
HIE, which owns the funicular, is currently exploring the scope and cost of these works, a process expected to take several weeks.
Simultaneously, HIE is commissioning an independent peer review of COWI’s report, in line with industry best practice for complex investigations of this nature.
Work on the structure of the funicular can only be carried out during summer months when the mountain is more accessible to contractors. It will therefore remain out of service for the remainder of the current winter season and throughout the summer months and possibly longer.
New snowmaking equipment began operating in December, allowing up to 100 skiers a day to access artificial snow on the lower slopes, while ski tows can provide uplift to higher parts of the mountain when there is enough natural snowfall and conditions are favourable.
Susan Smith, HIE’s Head of Business Development, said:
“We have considered carefully the implications of the investigation and concluded it will take considerable time to design, procure and complete the necessary works. Our goal is to have the funicular up and running as soon as is safe to do so, but in the meantime, we anticipate it will remain out of service throughout the summer months and possibly beyond. We will provide further updates as things progress.”
Ross Harris, Interim Chief Executive of CMSL, added:
“Cairngorm Mountain is an outstanding all year-round tourist attraction. The funicular is of course a unique feature of Cairngorm, but there is so much more to experience. We are working hard to ensure that we continue to provide the best experience possible for our snowsports customers who can access the mountain using our network of tows and we are confident we can build on an already attractive offering for our summer visitors. We are focused on making Cairngorm Mountain a ‘must visit’ destination because we know that in doing so the resort will continue to provide economic benefits for the entire Strathspey area for years to come.”
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- CairnGorm Mountain buys snowmaking equipment in response to funicular closure
Read the article online at: https://www.mountaintechnologymagazine.com/mountain-tourism/30012019/no-summer-opening-for-cairngorm-funicular-railway/