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alan


Posts: 10750
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2nd Dec 2021
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CairnGorm Funicular - Operation stopped as safety precaution
Date Posted: 22.40hrs on Thu 27 Sep 18
Anyone who's been able to pick up a copy of The Strathy this week and hasn't been aware of recent goings on up the hill and the lack of Funicular operation will no doubt have got a bit of a shock.



It's many days since the Funicular has operated and the CML source quoted in the Strathy refers to a minimum temperature constraint as well as lower wind speed limit. Are we facing a winter where the principle uplift and only non surface tow uplift on the mountain is incapable of operating in cold weather?

It is time for Highlands and Islands Enterprise, CairnGorm Mountain Ltd and Natural Retreats to come clean on exactly how serious this is. Both for the staff who are facing reduced working hours and income over an unknown length of period, the many businesses that will be impacted in the strath and for the customers considering parting with significant amounts of cash for winter season passes.

At present we believe the Funicular is limited to 15 people per compartment, a maximum operating speed of 4m/s and a not publicly known but much lower wind limit and restricted temperature window for operation. That suggests a maximum practical uplift capacity of just 360 per hour non-stop (half the White Lady Chairlift) and 240 per hour mid-stopping.

The final destruction of the Coire na Ciste Chairlifts last summer now looks even more foolish.




Edited 2 times. Last edit at 17.34hrs Mon 1 Oct 18 by alan.

Attachments: Funicular-StrathyQuoteForum.jpg (100kB)  
alan


Posts: 10750
Joined: Nov 1994
Last Visited: 23:28
2nd Dec 2021
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Re: CairnGorm Funicular
Date Posted: 22.51hrs on Thu 27 Sep 18
Here is the part of a collection of reports released under FOI by HIE regarding the Funicular.

HIE has until mid October to release further more recent reports on the condition of uplift on CairnGorm under a decision by the Scottish Information Commissioner to uphold an appeal against HIE's refusal to release the information on the grounds that do so would be prejudicial to the commercial interests of CairnGorm Mountain Ltd.

[www.winterhighland.info] .

DonaldM


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Funicular
Date Posted: 07.23hrs on Fri 28 Sep 18
HIE are the main culprits here and are so far in that they feel they can't lose face. That trait shows that they are not fit to be involved in decisions of any operational issue, including finance, related to Cairn Gorm.

They can of course retain ownership, on behalf of the public, but have to transfer the assets to community operation.

I was there yesterday and there was no sign of car park attendants or charging.

PeterS


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Funicular
Date Posted: 11.28hrs on Fri 28 Sep 18
Looks as though the concrete is not surviving the climate well up there.


some frustrated skier


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Funicular
Date Posted: 15.51hrs on Sat 29 Sep 18
Not good at all.

Beastie


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Funicular
Date Posted: 16.12hrs on Sat 29 Sep 18
Is this due to neglect or is this just bad luck?

geoffers


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Funicular
Date Posted: 17.55hrs on Sat 29 Sep 18
More info here [www.thenational.scot]

....discovery of massive cracks in one of the concrete beams used to hold up the CairnGorm Mountain Funicular Railway.

With the winter skiing season about to start, the fractured pillar has forced operators to make the trains twice as slow and half full.

But thatís only when itís running Ė the train has to come to a complete stop if itís too windy, too snowy or too cold.

alan


Posts: 10750
Joined: Nov 1994
Last Visited: 23:28
2nd Dec 2021
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Re: CairnGorm Funicular
Date Posted: 18.36hrs on Sat 29 Sep 18
The superstructure on the piers was originally to have been all steel, the decision to use reenforced concrete beams was taken quite late on to cut costs. There was an emphasis that the concrete was designed to weather so it would be less obtrusive than a steel viaduct.

Whether the beam problems steam from a design issue or an implementation / construction issue may still not even be known at this point.

There is concern that there is a project wide problem with the beams, manifesting its self to a greater or lesser extent at different positions along the track. The problem manifests its self as excessive deflections, leading to cracking which will ultimately reduce the design life of the structure. At this stage it is not known if this is a design or a construction related problem and further detailed investigations would be required to identify the source of the problem.


But the bottom line appears to be that whether it is one or the other, or a combination of both design and build issues, the structure isn't up to the combined battering from the climate and full speed fully loaded use of the funicular.

As most snowsports visitors are only to aware, where the track is not at a considerable height above ground the arrangement of the concrete beams has acted as giant snow fence rails causing significant overtrack drifting problems.

The experience to date suggests that the drifting problem is almost certainly worse than had these sections been built on an embankment with traditional ballast and sleeper track. That at least would have been much easier to maintain and repair / replace track sections.

The reason for using the concrete viaduct for all but the tunnel was to reduce the area of ground disturbance, this was taken to the point of hand digging some of the pier foundations. If any of the founds were not deep enough, frost heave could be a contributing factor?

One other issue is some of the rail plinths which are made of a cement/putty type material are disintegrating, if this was a steel structure these would not be used.

It has to be said it is beginning to look as if the Funicular is to continue to be used as a fairly high capacity high speed uplift, then operating costs are going to rise far higher than was ever anticipated with potentially regular interruptions to service to undertake checks and repairs.

If that turns out to be the case and operating the funicular as a low capacity and slower tourist ride would substantially reduce future costs, problems and out of service periods then it would look like putting in new high capacity snowsports uplift and keeping the funicular for sightseers could be a way forward.

A quad chair, detachable or not can get up to between 2000 and 2400 persons per hour per direction, twice the Funicular's theoretical capacity.

The Funicular should not be fixed at any cost (once off or ongoing) to safe face at HIE and one must ask given HIE knew of the developing situation with the Funicular since at least 2016 what was the motivation for their indecent haste to suddenly cut up the Coire na Ciste Chairlifts last summer?


some frustrated skier


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Funicular
Date Posted: 21.54hrs on Sat 29 Sep 18
I'm sure the HIE business model of good public money after a failed & poor economic choice will continue.

How much money would it have cost to install a steel structure? It would've been one big meccano set and easily replaced.

Will be good to see the tower crane back to remove failed beams.

PeterS


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Funicular
Date Posted: 09.15hrs on Sun 30 Sep 18
If the capacity of the funicular is now back to that of the previous chairlift perhaps a case could be made for the suspension of the closed system? Presumably that was a requirement to mitigate the potential increase in visitors at the top ?

alan


Posts: 10750
Joined: Nov 1994
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2nd Dec 2021
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Re: CairnGorm Funicular
Date Posted: 17.33hrs on Mon 1 Oct 18
The Cairngorm funicular railway has stopped operating as a safety precaution


HIE news release: [news.hie.co.uk]

Doug_Bryce


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Funicular
Date Posted: 19.22hrs on Mon 1 Oct 18
alan Wrote:
The Cairngorm funicular railway has stopped operating as a safety precaution

HIE news release:


A little analogy.... winking smiley

Usually when hill-walkers make a navigational error in the mountains it isn't a single error that causes problems. Rather it is taking a wrong turn on a day when you also didn't read the weather forecast AND forgot to take any spare food / water proofs.

As a stand alone incident the funicular being shut down is frustrating. However in context of the other uplift being removed it has become a complete and utter disaster.

The only silver lining ? This could be the straw that breaks camels back and finally get them to sort their s--t out.



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 19.22hrs Mon 1 Oct 18 by Doug_Bryce.

jelly2


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Funicular - Operation stopped as safety precaution
Date Posted: 19.26hrs on Mon 1 Oct 18
Not a great financial position to have to absorb extra costs either:






Edited 2 times. Last edit at 19.33hrs Mon 1 Oct 18 by jelly2.

Attachments: PJ_CML.png (76kB)  
kammy


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Funicular - Operation stopped as safety precaution
Date Posted: 20.10hrs on Mon 1 Oct 18
This is absolute disaster, with Winter around the corner, the bad news couldn't have come at a worst time, Unfortunately getting rid of chairlifts which they could have used as a back up has spectacularly backfired, as a result depending on how quickly they get the train back up and running, its going to have an impact on cairngorm ski centre already depleted finances.

some frustrated skier


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Funicular - Operation stopped as safety precaution
Date Posted: 21.07hrs on Mon 1 Oct 18
Definitely the straw that broke the camel's back.

HIE now need to get NR out of the picture and stop this embarrassing mess. Still no-one can admit that skiing is the money maker. The 4 other Scottish resorts are growing and only one is failing. Business model shows thus.

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