Cairngorms funicular railway report further delayed

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Built at a cost of £26m, the funicular was first opened in 2001

The publication of a report into the safety of the UK's highest railway has been delayed until next year.

The Cairngorms funicular carries skiers, snowboarders and other visitors at the CairnGorm Mountain snowsports centre near Aviemore.

Built at a cost of £26m, it connects a base station with a restaurant 1,097m (3,599ft) up Cairn Gorm mountain.

An engineers' report on a structural problem affecting the railway was expected in December.

But bad weather has delayed the completion of the engineers' investigation work.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), which owns and operates the railway and snowsports centre, confirmed the further delay to the report.

It had been expected to be released in early December, before HIE said it could be delayed for about two weeks. It will now not be available until next year.

'Booms and busts'

While CairnGorm Mountain will still be open to snowsports enthusiasts, the funicular will remain closed over the Christmas and New Year period, one of the busiest times for businesses in and around Aviemore.

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."

HIE took over the running of CairnGorm Mountain following the collapse of privately-owned operator CairnGorm Mountain Ltd in November.

Opened in 2001, the funicular carries about 300,000 visitors each year.

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