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Doug_Bryce


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Re: CairnGorm Funicular - Operation stopped as safety precaution
Date Posted: 21.52hrs on Wed 3 Oct 18
Quote:
Neither local area, nor Scottish ski industry, has benefited from public money being spent in this way.


Quote:
.... the local area to Cairngorm will have had significant benefit from nearly £2M per year being spent there in year-round jobs because its tourism has been propped up with public money. Aviemore itself reminds me of a wee Aberdeen in that it doesn't really know how good it had it until it stops having it. The community really need to wake up and fight now, else they'll end up poorer just like the rest of us in rural Scotland.


yes and no. I would argue that the disproportionate funding of the Cairngorm funicular has had several unintended negative consequences for snowsports as a whole.

1) at a basic level public funding is what allowed Cairngorm to actively diversify away from being a ski area.

2) decline of Coire na Ciste started immediately after the funicular was built. cynics might suggest the Ciste chairs were seen as a direct threat to bums on funicular seats.

3) summer trade might have increased at Cairngorm. However winter visitors have (as % of market share) have decreased. Jan-April is low season in the highlands so investing in skiing makes economic sense. Summer would be busy with or without the funicular.

4) HIE got their fingers burned by the funicular loans. As result funding became almost impossible for the other 4 ski areas to access (until very recently).

5) Less people skiing at Cairngorm is not necessarily good for other areas : arguably it just means less people skiing / learning in Scotland. For various reasons (long season / accommodation / historical) Aviemore is seen as the flagship resort of Scottish skiing and the closest we have to a "resort".

6) the funicular continues to be a financial black hole unable to pay for itself. the closed system means repeat summer visits are inherently limited. though rather than learn from previous mistakes more public money (which could be used to upgrade uplift!) is thrown after bad.

p.s Moffat is another interesting discussion, though government have invested money successfully nearby in the 7 stanes mountain biking etc.



Edited 4 times. Last edit at 21.55hrs Wed 3 Oct 18 by Doug_Bryce.

moffatross


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Funicular - Operation stopped as safety precaution
Date Posted: 18.32hrs on Thu 4 Oct 18
Doug_Bryce Wrote:yes and no. I would argue that the disproportionate funding of the Cairngorm funicular has had several unintended negative consequences for snowsports as a whole.[/quote]

----------

I agree that it's been bad for Scottish snow sports but my point was just that Aviemore will have had a net benefit from £2M per year. Where winter sports are concerned, Aviemore's benefit will have been to the detriment of say Fort William, Braemar and Kinloch Rannoch. In a wider sense, if HIE hadn't been gifted so money to spend on CML, similar sized places to Aviemore like Moffat could have benefited instead. If HIE had replaced a chair instead of building a railway up a hill from a town that already has a railway station, the money could have been spent on a railway station in a town that has a railway running past it but no station in any direction for 20-30 miles.

BTW, 7 Stanes has been great for Peebles/Innerleithen but does next to diddly squat for Moffat. In winter, even at weekends you can take your pick of overnight places in Moffat, but B&B's are booked all year round in Innerleithen

Anyway, if there's been any downside for Aviemore generally (not winter sports on Cairngorm), it's that it may now be too complacent to survive without it, and that's what I meant about it being like a wee Aberdeen, the Scottish city that convinced itself that it works harder than everyone else in Scotland in the same way Home Counties Tories whose incomes are propped up by money from London. Granted they've been like turkeys voting for Christmas over Brexit tongue sticking out smiley



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 18.33hrs Thu 4 Oct 18 by moffatross.

SnowmanDave


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Funicular - Operation stopped as safety precaution
Date Posted: 18.46hrs on Thu 4 Oct 18
I've been looking at pictures of the funicular again...those precast beams are 6m & over in length....& I haven't seen any other joints where two beams join at a pier..other than that before shown...eg a full insitu cast concrete section effectively making rigid those two beams...

Utter madness....!!

That means that the whole lot of the beams will try to move as one complete unit & with no expansion control for its length! No wonder they have cracks forming at the joins between the precast & insitu cast stuff....its the only way for the lateral expansion & the train load deflections to get out of the system so to speak.

As the train approaches the end of a precast beam its effectively pushing it down into the pier..the insitu filler is not loaded so you get flex at the joint..then as the train passes over the joint it loads & unloads the joints....

If the rebar is ok & quite deep they could cut the joints out to say 12mm wide & go full depth through the beam (if possible, but doubt it)...then fill the new gap with an expansion joint material...

Total design fail IMHO....


Doug_Bryce


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Funicular - Operation stopped as safety precaution
Date Posted: 18.56hrs on Thu 4 Oct 18
Quote:
BTW, 7 Stanes has been great for Peebles/Innerleithen but does next to diddly squat for Moffat. In winter, even at weekends you can take your pick of overnight places in Moffat, but B&B's are booked all year round in Innerleithen


I appreciate 7 stane's isn't in Moffat itself.

However it is a great example of public money well spent....

1) Got thousands of people off their arse doing exercise and riding bikes
2) Generated year round eco-system and bike scene in local area
3) Boosted tourists numbers to Pebbles / Innerleithen and also Dumfries
4) Original investment has become self-sustaining and continues to grow

In terms of public investment, via Forestry commission, it has been a real winner. I don't think the Cairngorm funicular achieved any of those goals?

If you think of the funicular as an employment project then it makes more sense. However does Aviemore really benefit in summer from a train set attracting bus parties to an over-priced cafe ? Or could the funicular project have been tweaked to achieve some of the goals above. Arguably a ski area that wasn't able to use public subsidy to diversify away from skiing would have been better for the local area. Current proposals for more retail / bigger cafe at Ptarmigan in desperate hope to make funicular profitable are lunacy : wont attract extra visitors and can only take existing local trade.

As an aside - Aviemore is pretty much unique in Scotland. Prior to Karl Fuchs stepping off a train outside the Cairngorm hotel in 1950 it was a one street town. The entire village was subsequently built on tourism boom fueled by the 1960s ski boom. In contrast Fort William has historically been an industrial town than later turned to outdoor recreation.




Doug_Bryce


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Funicular - Operation stopped as safety precaution
Date Posted: 19.13hrs on Thu 4 Oct 18
As an aside : I don't think the funicular has been a total failure.
It can operate in high winds and is great for getting beginners / kids up top.

However the vast sums on money spent meant HIE had to ensure the train-set was a success. Even if that meant sacrificing other aspects of the business or the other 4 Scottish ski areas.

Reading reports online it seems the repair bill for the concrete could be several million...

paraffin


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Funicular - Operation stopped as safety precaution
Date Posted: 20.39hrs on Thu 4 Oct 18
moffatross Wrote:

If say Moffat (about the same sized town as Aviemore) had had £2M per year spent to prop up a year-round visitor attraction in the hills above town, it'd help combat the local gloom that occurs as the tourists leave in the first week of September and don't return until April. And if you don't drive here, you haven't got many other work options than seasonal hospitality jobs because we're in the middle of the longest gap between railway stations in Scotland, the 55 mile stopless stretch between Lockerbie and Lanark and have shite bus services to boot..

Hi Moffat,
Not all gloom and doom for Moffat. Over the past two years our company has invested over £5m of private finance in various projects around Moffat & Beattock in new housing, holiday parks and upgrading of hotels. This has resulted in bringing long term jobs, improved housing supply and bringing back into use once dilapidated buildings. So hoping that this beautiful wee town is on the rise.



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 21.31hrs Thu 4 Oct 18 by paraffin.

alan


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Re: CairnGorm Funicular - Operation stopped as safety precaution
Date Posted: 20.58hrs on Thu 4 Oct 18
The Funicular was conceived the same year the first http server went on the internet. It was in part born out of the formation of HIE and the local enterprise companies out of the HIDB - HIE was looking for a grand project to make it's mark and the Funicular was it.

The wind factor was the major part of case for a funicular railway, but the wind factor was overplayed by using absurdly low wind tolerances for other lifts. It is also fair to say that the appeal of the funicular was grossly overestimated, it doesn't have the appeal of the Nevis Range gondola journeying from forest to mountain (and people perceive the gondola as better value even though it costs more for a day ticket).

Simply repeating the one off visit spike with a bigger Ptarmigan Restaurant is merely repeating the same mistake again, and one which would be absolute folly given the concerns about lifespan of the Funicular.

Today the wind factor is less of an issue. It was clear from analysis by Bob Clyde that once the wind reached Gale Force (38mph) skier numbers out on the hill dropped very significantly, the difference today is that with near universal internet access and significantly improved weather forecasting people don't just turn up hoping for the best, if the wind is forecast to be a Severe Gale few will make the trip.

Thus the ability to uplift skiers in a Force 12 is something of a red herring, the big financial hits to CairnGorm come not from losing some very marginal high wind days, it comes for the day after the big storm, the Saturday or the Sunday under blue skies and light or moderate winds, with the powder snow glistening in the sunshine, but the road under many feet of snow with no prospect to the snow gates opening.




growwild


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Re: CairnGorm Funicular - Operation stopped as safety precaution
Date Posted: 23.35hrs on Thu 4 Oct 18
I guess this gives the posh twats 'running' the place an out ?

How much cash ya sucking back outta Moffat Paraffin? tongue sticking out smiley

jabuzzard


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Funicular - Operation stopped as safety precaution
Date Posted: 10.15hrs on Fri 5 Oct 18
alan Wrote:

Today the wind factor is less of an issue. It was clear from analysis by Bob Clyde that once the wind reached Gale Force (38mph) skier numbers out on the hill dropped very significantly, the difference today is that with near universal internet access and significantly improved weather forecasting people don't just turn up hoping for the best, if the wind is forecast to be a Severe Gale few will make the trip.

Thus the ability to uplift skiers in a Force 12 is something of a red herring, the big financial hits to CairnGorm come not from losing some very marginal high wind days, it comes for the day after the big storm, the Saturday or the Sunday under blue skies and light or moderate winds, with the powder snow glistening in the sunshine, but the road under many feet of snow with no prospect to the snow gates opening.



I would further add that if you are really worried about wind speeds and your aerial lift they you just switch from a gondola to a funitel. According to the Doppelmayr website these can operate in wind speeds of 100km/h or 60mph in old money. According to Wikipedia the first funitel went in 1990 at Val-Thorens.

Given this is well before the funicular was even considered, the whole windspeed thing is worse than a red herring it was either deliberate falsification of the facts or abject failure in due diligence.

One imagines if Nevis range had been built a few years later it would have sported a funitel rather than a gondola. The take away being that we don't need a Glenmore gondola we need a Glenmore funitel.

I would also note the length of time top to bottom skiing at Glencoe was available this year with a little help from some snowmaking.

Anyway this whole attitude of needing to operate lifts in gale force conditions, therefore we need poma's and tbars in Scotland is something I have been railing against here for a decade now. It is IMHO prejudicial to the long term viability of snow sports in Scotland.

paraffin


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Funicular - Operation stopped as safety precaution
Date Posted: 17.00hrs on Fri 5 Oct 18
growwild Wrote:

How much cash ya sucking back outta Moffat Paraffin?


Thatíll be 8.5% return on investment. Better than throwing money at a failing ski resort? Interested?

alan


Posts: 10750
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Re: CairnGorm Funicular - Operation stopped as safety precaution
Date Posted: 13.37hrs on Sat 6 Oct 18
The case of a standard mono-cable gondola vs funitel is not so clear cut in favour of the later now because of continuous improvements in gondola technology. A 50mph tolerance is normal with a modern mono cable gondola and with careful design and tower loading 60mph tolerance achievable. A funitel could be pushed to 70mph, but as above for the Funicular the improvement in forecasting and easier access to information somewhat negates the case for being able to uplift in such conditions!

A two stage mono cable gondola with a pass through mid-station at the Sugar Bowl, would with modern snow making allow skiing back to the Sugar Bowl most of most seasons (and to Glenmore for a large part of most winters). The lower section would be closed even less than a funitel to Coire Cas.

Of course any such future development and how it was done would heavily depend on the true condition of the Funicular and it's long term prognosis. If the Funicular is capable of being maintained at even a moderate speed tourist centric ride, then it's very difficult to make a case for isolating it and running a Glenmore Gondola into Coire na Ciste.

A Gondola to Coire Cas could as a next phase be extended to a new Shelling. Retiring the lower section of the Funicular and replacing the existing passing loop with a new single track section. The current rolling stock and drive system is capable of uplifting 1600 people per hour from the Shelling to Top Station on a shortened Funicular.

On the other hand if the Funicular is in even worse condition, then a blank canvas approach should be taken. With advances in rope way technology and snow making, there would be a strong case for taking a Glenmore Gondola into Coire na Ciste. Terminating it near the Carpark would provide a great arrival point to the mountain at the edge of the tree line with better views and more welcoming feel than the exposed base are in Coire Cas. This location could house a mountain lodge with panoramic restaurant overlooking Glenmore and the Ryvoan Pass, plus an opportunity for some low key mountain lodging in it's vicinity - something more likely to be acceptable than in Coire Cas.

The plus side is such a gondola should be more resilient than the line into the current Cas base area and could link into limited on mountain lodging. It would be possible to rejig the Link Road route to reduce visual impact and get a gradient for a ski run back to the Ciste, which would be pretty reliable particularly with snow making (we know how well the road can hold snow...)!

That could arguably leave less need for significant new uplift in Coire Cas, a new chair on the line of the White Lady Tow, refurbished Cas T-bar and maintained Daylodge Poma would cover it as people would be able to ski down to the high capacity lift in the Ciste.

Pie in the sky? Well depends, if the Funicular viaduct is going to need replaced we'll be in very uncharted territory where either way a huge amount of money will have to be spent to either modernise and rebuild the Funicular, to phase in new uplift to replace it or the nuclear alternative - to spend at least as much money if not significantly more to remove the ski area and road as per the Section 50 - it is surely unthinkable that public money channeled through a development agency could be used to such ends given the economic consequences.



Edited 3 times. Last edit at 13.44hrs Sat 6 Oct 18 by alan.

oldagedpredator


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Funicular - Operation stopped as safety precaution
Date Posted: 19.00hrs on Sat 6 Oct 18
paraffin Wrote:
growwild Wrote:

How much cash ya sucking back outta Moffat Paraffin?

Thatíll be 8.5% return on investment. Better than throwing money at a failing ski resort? Interested?


Follow the way of the Paraffin

jabuzzard


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Funicular - Operation stopped as safety precaution
Date Posted: 17.56hrs on Sun 7 Oct 18
alan Wrote:
The case of a standard mono-cable gondola vs funitel is not so clear cut in favour of the later now because of continuous improvements in gondola technology. A 50mph tolerance is normal with a modern mono cable gondola and with careful design and tower loading 60mph tolerance achievable. A funitel could be pushed to 70mph, but as above for the Funicular the improvement in forecasting and easier access to information somewhat negates the case for being able to uplift in such conditions!


The context was the 1990's and the idea that you needed a funicular because a cable ropeway would not be able to cope with the wind speeds. That funitels where a thing before the funicular was even a planning application and could cope with wind speeds well in excess of any sane individual would want to ski in. As such either there was incompetence or deliberate miss-information in the push for a funicular.

I note that the catering staff on the mountain on zero hour contracts are the ones currently at the sharp end of the issue.

[www.pressandjournal.co.uk]

growwild


Guest
Re: CairnGorm Funicular - Operation stopped as safety precaution
Date Posted: 20.46hrs on Sun 7 Oct 18
I agree with the wind statements, any dumpling willing to go when the weather is as pish as it is the now is dumb enough to hike.

I dunno if HIE will scrap the fecker even if it costs just as much or even more to fix as the install, pride over logic wins with councils and fuds alike... Boycott the place and slander the life out it, sit and wait then interested parties make a proposal when its on its arse.

High risk, good returns for moi Parrafin. The far right have made property and local/national tourism here risky for the next 5 years, things might pick up when we start producing shite for China so I'll be investing in lettuce, spam and candles.

The real money should be spent on Fort Bill and surrounding area, a decent marina and develop fae there up right up to expanding Nevis range, Glencoe cannae handle any more people and I'm not sure about filling Glenshee with concrete, more trees and cabins probably.. Aviemore has had it's slice and should be left as a retirement village, stick a furnace at the top of the train and it can be used for the final journey.

alan


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Re: CairnGorm Funicular - Operation stopped as safety precaution
Date Posted: 20.59hrs on Sun 7 Oct 18
jabuzzard Wrote:

As such either there was incompetence or deliberate miss-information in the push for a funicular.


You missed out a third option - both. eye popping smiley

In terms of zero hours contracts Iíve heard locally their use has been increased under Natural Retreats. Was the knowledge of a developing situation with the Funicular a factor in this. Iím also under the impression that the three other ski areas in the HIE area were assessed for compliance with the Scottish Governments living wage while CML was excempted.

Can someone please explain how any of HIEs actions and inactions are strengthening the communities of Strathspey?

Incidentally I know HIE have been ordered to release more reports so there could be yet more breaking (pardon the unfortunate pun) news on the condition of CairnGorm infrastructure!

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