Railway construction row ends in £11m out-of-court settlement

A long-running row over the construction of the UK’s highest railway has been settled out of court ahead of a planned hearing this month.

Under the terms of the settlement client Highlands and Islands Enterprise will receive £11m.

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.

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

The Cairngorms funicular was built at a cost of £19.5m by Galliford-owned Morrison Construction and opened in 2001 but was taken out of service in 2018 after an engineers’ inspection identified structural defects that raised safety concerns.

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 led by Balfour Beatty.

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.”

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