The bill for repairing the cable car in the highlands is rising | So Good News


The repair bill for the Cairngorm cable car has risen to £25 million.

Repairs to the Highlands railway were originally earmarked to cost £14.8m but rose to £16m last year.

The Scottish Government’s Highlands and Islands Enterprise Agency (HIE) has now announced a further £9m cost increase due to the impact of Covid, Brexit and bad weather last spring, all of which it says have hampered repairs.

That means repair costs will only be lower than the £26.7m it cost to build the cable car originally.

Earlier this month, HIE announced that the Cairngorm cable car will finally reopen to the public next year, four and a half years after it closed due to “structural issues”.

A spokesperson for Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), which owns the cable car, confirmed that repairs were on track to be completed in the coming months with a reopening date earmarked for early next year.

The cable car – Britain’s highest railway – originally opened in 2001, but has been out of service since 2018 due to structural problems. A July 2018 engineering report noted that the structure’s condition for its age was “disappointing” with various defects identified. A second report commissioned by the HIE confirmed that work was needed to strengthen the railway’s piers, beams and foundations.

Balfour Beatty was appointed to deliver works to bring the cable car back into service in 2020.

It was originally targeted for reopening in early 2022, but has been marred by cost increases and delays due to the pandemic, extreme weather, material shortages and technical engineering challenges.

A spokesperson for HIE said: “We are on track to have the cable car back in use for snow sports enthusiasts and other visitors to Cairn Gorm during the coming winter season.

“Reinforcement work along the 2km viaduct is nearing completion and a new control system is being installed, part of which was delivered by helicopter to the summit station in early October.

“After installation and a period of rigorous testing and safety certification, we will once again welcome visitors on board. The exact timing depends on a number of factors, not least the mountain weather.”

Last year, HIE launched legal action against the cable car’s original contractor, Morrison Construction – which is now part of Galliford Try. HIE is seeking damages of £14.5 million.

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