Potential operator found for Cairngorm funicular railway

The owner of a funicular railway which serves skiers and snowboarders on Scotland’s Cairn Gorm mountain has said it has found a possible operator to run the service.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) announced in March 2013 that it was on the hunt for a new long-term operator for the mountain railway, which connects the base of Cairn Gorm and the Ptarmigan restaurant at the top of the mountain.

Since becoming a subsidiary of HIE in 2008, CairnGorm Mountain Ltd has operated the line – an arrangement HIE maintained was only a short term solution.

Natural Retreats UK Ltd has been named as the preferred bidder to take over the 1.9-kilometre railways, which was built in 2000.

HIE chief executive Alex Paterson said: “This is a significant step forward in our procurement process, but it is not the end.

“Over the coming weeks, HIE will hold further discussions with Natural Retreats on a number of points of detail, before deciding whether or not to proceed to awarding a contract. This is a normal procedure in complex procurements which follow the ‘competitive dialogue’ methodology.

“Whatever the outcome of the upcoming discussions with our preferred bidder, the railway and visitor facilities, and, indeed, the wider Cairngorm estate, will remain in public ownership through HIE.”