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alan


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30th Oct 2020
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CairnGorm Funicular - unlikely to run winter 2019/20?
Date Posted: 11.19hrs on Thu 2 May 19
A well attended business breakfast (despite a time that was very difficult for many in the hospitality sector) was held in Aviemore on Wednesday morning with Highlands and Islands Enterprise about the CairnGorm Funicular.

Sadly lacking was new information and pardon the pun concrete update that many expected. There was notable frustration in the room with the persistent lack of straight and meaningful answers from HIE.

At this stage HIE couldn't tell the room what went wrong with the funicular. We did learn that HIE do not yet have a final report on the engineers findings, and when they do have a final report on what needs done it will need to be peer reviewed.
What HIE did say was that their understanding at this time was the funicular was 'repairable'. However, the accompanying on screen slide and verbal information stated that:

- Pier foundations require re-enforced
- Piers need repaired / strengthened / realigned
- Beams need strengthening
- All bearings need replaced on the piers

Basically each component of structure needs work by the sound of it - repairable in this sense could mean anything up to practically rebuilding the funicular viaduct.



HIE also stated that an invitation to tender would require to be advertised in the OJEU (official journal of the European Union) and the threshold for that is for works greater than 4.5 million at present. The tender process was stated to be likely to require 3 to 4 months.

In other answers, it was likely to be a month before the final reports and peer review could be completed. James Gibbs of HIE did say that it would be at least end of June before any work people could be on the funicular - however an audience member justifiably pointed out that in light of HIE's other answers a time machine would be required to start repairs in July!

The summer works window for repairs is short. Even after a tender is awarded there will be a mandatory standstill period of as we understand it at least 15 working days before any activity relating to the tender award can get underway.

HIE did state that Cairngorm Mountain were working on contingencies for no funicular in winter 2019/20, but were not forthcoming with more information.
Given the totality of the presentation and answers (as such as questions were answered) the only reasonable conclusion is that the funicular is very unlikely to run in winter 2019/20 or for that matter summer 2020.

Reading between the lines it also sounded as if HIE simply don't have the funds for the scale of the repairs to give the funicular a long term future and the Scottish Government would have to step in and fund CairnGorm directly.

We also understand from local sources that the funicular control and safety systems are obsolete and nearing end of support and will require to be replaced in the near future for a further 1.5 to 2m.

Take in totality with repair works over the OJEU threshold of 4.5m then upwards of 6m looks required to be spent. Perhaps substantially more as HIE did on several occasions say cost of demolition and reinstatement would be a factor.

However, the funicular has not proved to be attractive to non skiing repeat visitors and has struggled to maintain summer visitation compared to the Nevis Range gondola, while proving much more expensive to operate. It has repeatedly proven itself to be dysfunctional in winter, problems with the tunnel mouth and frequent over drifting resulting in regular late openings or days with no funicular. Mid-station stops causing capacity to drop to less than half the old chairs.

In winter it is not the funicular per se that attracts a section of the snowsports market, particularly families, snowboarders and early intermediates, it is being able to access the whole Cas side and the M2 from non surface uplift.

Perhaps time to start thinking the previously unthinkable?

Certainly a complete and absolute rethink on the strategy pursued over the past 20 years is required, we have learnt the hard way with 2 financial failures 10 years apart that a single base ski area almost entirely focussed on Coire Cas with a high cost funicular is not a sustainable and viable business.



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 11.20hrs Thu 2 May 19 by alan.

Attachments: fun-meet-sm.jpg (99kB)  
Hipennine


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30th Oct 2020
Re: CairnGorm Funicular - unlikely to run winter 2019/20?
Date Posted: 14.52hrs on Thu 2 May 19
alan Wrote:

We also understand from local sources that the funicular control and safety systems are obsolete and nearing end of support and will require to be replaced in the near future for a further 1.5 to 2m.

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 12.20hrs Thu 2 May 19 by alan.


Seriously ?!?!?!

Alpine funicular installations seem to need this sort of work done about every 40 - 50 years of full time operation. This train set hasn't done a full 17 years yet.

01cookjk


Posts: 128
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22nd Oct 2020
Re: CairnGorm Funicular - unlikely to run winter 2019/20?
Date Posted: 17.36hrs on Thu 2 May 19
I'm gonna agree with Hipennine on this. No one, not even a swiss ski resort could justify spending such a vast amount on a funicular every 20-22 years.....and why should such a system cost more than 10% of the entire cost of the funicular?

(Im not counting the cost of the removal of the chairs, the building on the ptarmigan restaurant or ecological works here, nor the planning and architectural costs)

Clearly there are some greedy or just H&S mad b***rds out there!

Doug_Bryce


Posts: 1372
Joined: Jan 2003
Re: CairnGorm Funicular - unlikely to run winter 2019/20?
Date Posted: 04.48hrs on Fri 3 May 19
Even if money can be found to fix the funicular the underlying issues remain.

1) Because you cant exit top station the Funicular cant make money in summer. Train is of no use to hikers, bikers etc. Repeat summer custom non-existant.

2) Uplift on rest of mountain is insufficient for busy ski weekends. When it does snow Cairngorm cant profit to full potential (like it used to 80s/90s). Frustrating to think 300k was spent removing ciste chairs rather than upgrading them.

Ultimately the root of the problem is HIE. Charlotte Wright (CEO) should be dragged in front of parliament and forced to justify the public expenditure wasted under her watch. Just this winter alone HIE spent some 1 million on snowmaking - for a return of just 4000 skier days. The irony of course being that the top basin and ciste gully both contained natural snow but were inaccessible.

Ever tried writting a letter to HIE? Like speaking to a brick wall.... Self serving organisation that has destroyed Scotlands flagship ski centre.



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 04.55hrs Fri 3 May 19 by Doug_Bryce.

Sunshine


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3rd May 2019
Re: CairnGorm Funicular - unlikely to run winter 2019/20?
Date Posted: 18.41hrs on Fri 3 May 19
The financial disaster on Cairn Gorm has been caused by the crazy VMP and HIE and the responsible authorities should have amended the VMP to allow access from the Ptarmigan in 2005. The land over which the funicular railway runs is land that has the right of motorised access or else the train would not run. No different from leaving a bus or car at the Coire Cas car park. The law changed when the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 (the Act) came into force in 2005. It can be clearly seen that the closed system, ticket conditions and various notices displayed at CML are in conflict with the act and Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC).
The Act states that, for the purpose or main purpose of preventing or deterring any person entitled to exercise access rights from doing so, land managers must not:
a. Put up any sign or notice;
b. Put up any fence or wall;

The bottom line is CML allows egress from the Ptarmigan station in the ski season and brings in the closed system at other times. The closed system is therefore an intentional barrier to stop the public accessing land that has the statutory right of responsible access, and conflicts with the act. It has nothing to do with whether access rights apply to enter the railway.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) may put up and maintain notices for the purposes of protecting the natural heritage of land in respect of which access rights are exercisable. Even they cannot restrict access. That is under the remit of the access authority.



BennDavie


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25th Oct 2020
Re: CairnGorm Funicular - unlikely to run winter 2019/20?
Date Posted: 13.53hrs on Sat 28 Dec 19
Well I guess this is a dead thread then.

WeeSam


Posts: 99
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30th Oct 2020
Re: CairnGorm Funicular - unlikely to run winter 2019/20?
Date Posted: 17.17hrs on Thu 12 Mar 20
[www.bbc.co.uk]

10 million to fix; 13 million to scrap*...


The damn thing is a white elephant and needs scrapped. The 3 million extra will quickly turn into a saving the next time it needs repaired.


Get rid of it and build high speed 8 seater chairs up the cas and ciste. Sure, it will be out of action on high winds, but that's Scotland, so tough.


The biggest question is, who the hell was in charge of inspections and maintenance. How the hell, with a proper maintenance regime, can it get to such a state of disrepair that it needs 10 million quids worth of repairs?




*There are a load of travellers around here that will scrap it for free if they can keep the metal. It would be down in a fortnight.




Edited 1 times. Last edit at 17.17hrs Thu 12 Mar 20 by WeeSam.

alan


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Re: CairnGorm Funicular - unlikely to run winter 2019/20?
Date Posted: 19.06hrs on Thu 12 Mar 20
WeeSam Wrote:


10 million to fix; 13 million to scrap*...


The damn thing is a white elephant and needs scrapped. The 3 million extra will quickly turn into a saving the next time it needs repaired.


Get rid of it and build high speed 8 seater chairs up the cas and ciste. Sure, it will be out of action on high winds, but that's Scotland, so tough.


Edited 1 times. Last edit at 17.17hrs Thu 12 Mar 20 by WeeSam.


This I basically agree with you on. It is worth pointing out that while the Funicular was out of action HIE pushed through a planning application for an approx 2.5m rebuild of the Ptarmigan building, which got approved.

That seems like adding to the attempts to make fixing the funicular at any cost a fait accompli, this must not be about HIE face saving, it must be about doing the right thing. There is nothing in the past 20 years that suggests the Funicular is or can be a viable visitor attraction in its own right, so ongoing support seems likely and because of the nature of its structure as several monolithic concrete spans, it will have to be removed entirely one day. It can't be replaced tower by tower like an overhead lift could be, so repairing it is simply can kicking.

Bite the bullet now, the section 50 does not stipulate how quickly the funicular needs to come down, so the cost for removal and reinstatement seems something of a red herring.

The other elephant is the Ptarmigan Restaurant. It's a good location in winter for the fact its the juncture between the Ciste and Cas lifts, but as a sight seeing destination it is in cloud 1 day in 3 even in summer on average.

The Daylodge is in cloud only a fraction of those days, and even the base of the Ciste T-bar is in cloud far less than the top station.



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 19.07hrs Thu 12 Mar 20 by alan.

WeeSam


Posts: 99
Joined: Sep 2014
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30th Oct 2020
Re: CairnGorm Funicular - unlikely to run winter 2019/20?
Date Posted: 20.32hrs on Thu 12 Mar 20
A decent contractor will have the funicular and all the support structures down in no time.

However, the national park executives and all the quango busy bodies will get involved to review the risk assessments to make sure somebody doesn't stamp on some rare moss or the lesser spotted highland newt isn't bothered in its shagging season.

So you can double and add a zero to any reasonable cost. And quadruple the time it takes to do the job.

Its why nothing gets done in this country. Paralysed by the inaction of the dickheads in "charge" and who are scared of making the right call.

growwild


Posts: 3504
Joined: Oct 2005
Re: CairnGorm Funicular - unlikely to run winter 2019/20?
Date Posted: 22.58hrs on Thu 12 Mar 20
Get Boris up to investigate, get him on camera hooverin the Peruvian then cash in off it ... Professional lobbying is needed if you want shit done!

I agree with the wee butchers pirate about heather and newts pumping, turn the place into a ski resort or cut right back and have a few holy lifts in waiting on some twat of a god tae provide. off it

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