Cairngorm funicular railway legal battle ends in £11m settlement

Cairngorm funicular railway legal battle ends in £11m settlement

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has received £11 million in an out-of-court settlement relating to the original design and construction of the Cairngorm funicular railway in the 1990s and early 2000s and guarantees in place with the previous operator.

HIE, which owns Cairngorm Estate and commissioned the funicular, had been pursuing legal action in the Court of Session against construction company Galliford Try Infrastructure Limited and designer A.F. Cruden Associates Limited. A court proof hearing had been scheduled to begin this month.

The enterprise body was also seeking payment relating to guarantees issued by Natural Assets Investments Ltd (NAIL), which was the parent company of the previous operator CairnGorm Mountain Ltd (CML), and from NAIL’s main shareholder.

Built at a cost of £19.5m, Scotland’s only funicular railway opened in 2001. Construction was publicly funded through HIE, with support from the European Regional Development Fund.

The service was withdrawn in September 2018 by then-operator CML, after an inspection raised safety concerns.

In December 2018, HIE took over operations through a new subsidiary, Cairngorm Mountain (Scotland) Ltd, which continues to manage the resort at present.

The funicular returned to service in January this year, following a four-year programme of inspection, design and engineering works at a cost of around £25m.

Stuart Black, chief executive of HIE, said: “We are pleased to have reached this settlement, which enables us to recover a significant amount of public funding and brings closure to these long-standing matters.”

Share icon
Share this article: