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Written by Mark Henderson - 20 Jan 2004
last update by Alex Dow - 30 May 2008
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Location notes
A funicular railway on Cairngorm mountain, mainly for skiers access, but also tourist traffic, from the car park to near the summit at the top station. Replaces the old chairlifts that have since been removed.
Railway type and traffic
Cable-operated funicular railway, operated by two cars, Coire and Cairn. Passengers, standing room only. End to-end, with a passing loop half way.

Depending on the time of year the railway runs at different speed. During the winter the railway is run at high speed with the emphasis on moving skiers to the slopes. Whereas in the summer the line runs at a low speed so that travellers can enjoy the fantastic views.
Incidentally, the railway does not close until wind speeds of 85 mph occur, which is not often even at its height of 2000 to 3000 feet above sea level.
The line operates using a cable pull system with a double flanged wheel on the outer edge and a roller wheel on the inner edge.
For more information see The Gazetteer for Scotland pages.
Goes between half-way and (almost) all the way up a mountain, so weather is VERY changeable (hang around for 20 minutes and you'll know what I mean). Cairngorm is over 4,000 feet high, one of the higher munros, so if it's clear, you're in for some spectacular backdrops!
Note that if you want to get to the summit of the mountain, you cannot do so by taking the funicular. This is to cut down on environmental damage from hoards of tourists. You'll need to get those boots out and hike up!
Road directions
A9 to Aviemore, then follow the signs to the ski centre or Loch Morlich. Follow the road to the end, and you're there.

Click here to set up your location for directions to this location

Cairgorm Funicular Railway map co-ordinates
Several car parks. The top car park is the best, as it's right at the Day Lodge/bottom station. It fills up early on skiing days though, but there is a shuttle bus between the Lodge and the other ones. All are signposted.
Public transport
Click here to set up your location for directions to this location
Top and bottom stations have restaurants, but sky high prices for eating at altitude!
Speyside is a tourist area. SYHA hostels at Aviemore and Glenmore/Loch Morlich. Tons of hotels, campsites, chalets around, too.
Sun Compass
Sun Compass using Suncalc by brought to you by Vladimir Agafonkin:
It might be necessary to adjust the time to suit your visit, this link should open with the current day.
Cairgorm Funicular Railway

Googly map
Streetmap links
Cairgorm Funicular Railway general view map
Cairgorm Funicular Railway close up map

Windows Local Live Link - image quality may vary
Cairgorm Funicular Railway

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Photographic notes
Best location is anywhere on the mountain side where you can see the line, as it's raised up. The bottom station is covered, so not the best. Trains enter the top station via a tunnel, so that's that out too!
Middle station is just next to the passing loop, so is probably the best place to photograph. Sticking west of the station allows you to be higher up, as the ground slopes away a lot on the other side.
Also, as you can see out the front and rear of the cars, this can be a good location too!

General views - All photographs © Mark Henderson unless otherwise stated
Fig 1 - Looking east

Fig 1 - Looking east

Looking up the line from the middle station.

Fig 2 - Looking east

Fig 2 - Looking east

A view of the middle station

Fig 3 - Looking south east

Fig 3 - Looking south east

Looking up the line. You can just make out the tunnel mouth at the top.

Fig 4 - Looking south east

Fig 4 - Looking south east

Entering the passing loop, just above the middle station

Fig 5 - Looking east

Fig 5 - Looking east

The passing loop as viewed from the ground.

Fig 6 - Looking north

Fig 6 - Looking north

Entering the middle station

Fig 7 - Looking south east - image Alex Dow

Fig 7 - Looking south east - <i>image  Alex Dow</i>

Fig 8 - Looking south east - image Alex Dow

Fig 8 - Looking south east - <i>image  Alex Dow</i>

This shot demonstrates the fixed nature of the line, showing the cables running through gaps in the track. This cable hauls the cars along it's length, with the outer tracks supporting the double flanged wheels that guide the cars along the length of the line. The inner roller wheels merely supporting the car on it's journey.

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