Finishing touches underway on £25m Cairngorm funicular railway project

Image credit: Oskana.Perkins, Shutterstock

FINISHING touches are being undertaken on the Cairngorm Mountain funicular railway following its reopening in January.

Balfour Beatty led what has been described as one of Scotland’s ‘most complex’ civil engineering projects to bring the attraction back into use following its closure in 2018, with its viaduct being strengthened and a new control system being installed.

Upon completion in November last year, some ‘minor’ items could not be finalised due to the onset of winter weather. These include final painting on some of the steelwork; tidying up mortar grouting; and a small number of finishing items.

The funicular railway will remain in operation while the works are carried out over the next six to eight weeks, although it is planned to suspend the service for one day on Tuesday 13 June, Highland and Island Enterprise (HIE), which is behind the £25 million project, said.

James Palmer, construction project manager with HIE, which owns Cairngorm Estate, said,  “Reinstatement of the Cairngorm funicular railway was one of the most complex and challenging civil engineering projects to be undertaken anywhere in Scotland in recent years. Over the next few weeks, contractors will take care of a small number of outstanding issues that and couldn’t be tackled during winter and are mostly cosmetic in nature.

”The upcoming works have been carefully designed to minimise disruption to the funicular service. If it does become necessary to suspend operations any longer than the one day that’s planned, we’ll ensure it’s for as short a period as possible and Cairngorm Mountain Scotland Ltd will notify customers.

“We’ve already been back to remove scaffolding from alongside the track in April, and a programme of environmental restoration will continue this year and possibly beyond.”

Elsewhere at Cairngorm, work to create new family-friendly mountain biking trails is ‘well underway’, and due to open to the public in the summer. Cairngorm Mountain (Scotland) Ltd also recently gained planning permission to extend the viewing platform at the Ptarmigan restaurant which is part of the top station of the funicular.