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Removing the Cairngorm funicular will cost around £13.3m

By Gavin Musgrove

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THE projected cost of removing the funicular from Cairngorm Mountain is in the region of £13.3m, and that is just for the railway itself.

This figure is described as an early assessment by resort owners Highlands and Islands Enterprise who stressed that it does not include the cost of any buildings or replacement uplift.

HIE has said that it expects to submit the business case which will detail both retaining and removing the Cairngorm funicular to the Scottish Government this December.

The Cairngorm funicular has not run since September last year because of safety concerns over the concrete pillars which support the two kilometre track.
The Cairngorm funicular has not run since September last year because of safety concerns over the concrete pillars which support the two kilometre track.

The announcement comes after the problems at Cairngorm Mountain were discussed at a meeting of the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee in the Scottish Parliament last Tuesday.

A spokesman for HIE said: "HIE confirmed that its intention is to repair the funicular. However, a final decision cannot be taken until a detailed business case is approved by the Scottish Government.

"The business case will also consider the alternative option of removing the funicular, and will take account of the impact of climate change by exploring the potential to develop the mountain resort further as a year-round attraction.

"We expect the business case to be ready to submit to the Scottish Government in December.

The spokesman continued: "HIE’s current, high level estimate of the potential cost of physically dismantling the funicular railway and reinstating the hillside is up to £13.3m, excluding professional fees.

"It is important to note that this figure is also an early assessment that relates solely to the railway and not any buildings.

"It does not include the cost of replacing the funicular with any alternative uplift.

HIE has also reported that discussions with the Scottish Government on how any repair or removal could be funded had been "positive".

The spokesman said: "Regarding repair, it was possible that costs could be phased over several years, and there was potential for HIE to use income from the sale of a significant property asset – the Centre for Health Science in Inverness.

"Subject to a repair programme being approved, planning and other consents obtained, and a contractor procured, it is just possible that the funicular could be ready to be brought back into service for winter 2020."

However, HIE said it was giving "a clear warning" that this very ambitious timescale represents the shortest possible period for complex repair works to be carried out in extremely challenging mountain conditions.

The agency said the project could well take longer, and a realistic estimate can only be prepared once a contractor is in place.

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