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Foundation concerns close Cairngorm funicular

shutterstock 709821310 cairngorm funicular

The Cairngorm funicular railway is to remain closed following a detailed investigation after concerns over the structure and its foundations.

The investigation, undertaken by Cowi, was commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), following safety concerns raised in a general inspection last autumn.

Engineers have concluded that the structure does not present an immediate danger to the public. However, the safety margin is lower than desirable and a series of measures should be put in place to address weaknesses before resumption of service.

Cowi carried out the investigation between September and December last year, including excavating around foundations and investigations of the structure.

Work is required to strengthen the piers, beams and foundations, and install new bearings with higher load and movement capacity.

HIE is currently exploring the scope and cost of these works, expected to take several weeks.

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 said HIE. 

HIE’s head of business development Susan Smith 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.”

HIE said it was commissioning an independent peer review of Cowi’s report, in line with industry best practice for complex investigations of this nature.

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