Highlands & Islands

Fixing Cairngorms funicular railway 'cheaper' option

Cairngorm funicular Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The railway was opened in 2001

Repairing the Cairngorms' funicular will cost less than removing and scrapping it, its owner Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has said.

The UK's highest railway has been out of action since September last year due to structural problems.

HIE, which also owns the Cairngorm Mountain ski centre, said it had an indicative cost of fixing the railway.

The Scottish government will have to approve the repairs once the final cost is known.

HIE said there was a chance the railway could be operational again by the end of next year.

Repairs are required to almost half of the railway's piers, almost 300 bearings need to be replaced and joints and connections on beams need to be reinforced.

Built at a cost of £26m and opened in 2001, the railway connects a base station with a restaurant 1,097m (3,599ft) up Cairn Gorm mountain, near Aviemore.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The funicular has been out of action since September last year

Thousands of people use it, including skiers and snowboarders during the ski season to access slopes.

The snowsports centre, which is operated by Cairngorm Mountain (Scotland) Ltd, will be open for skiing using the existing lifts.

Artificially-made snow will be added to natural snow on the resort's lower slopes in Coire Cas, to complement natural snow.

Planning permission is to be sought to move the snowmaking factory further up the mountain for use on higher slopes.

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