The superstructure on the piers was originally to have been all steel, the decision to use reenforced concrete beams was taken quite late on to cut costs. There was an emphasis that the concrete was designed to weather so it would be less obtrusive than a steel viaduct.
Whether the beam problems steam from a design issue or an implementation / construction issue may still not even be known at this point.
There is concern that there is a project wide problem with the beams, manifesting its self to a greater or lesser extent at different positions along the track. The problem manifests its self as excessive deflections, leading to cracking which will ultimately reduce the design life of the structure. At this stage it is not known if this is a design or a construction related problem and further detailed investigations would be required to identify the source of the problem.
But the bottom line appears to be that whether it is one or the other, or a combination of both design and build issues, the structure isn't up to the combined battering from the climate and full speed fully loaded use of the funicular.
As most snowsports visitors are only to aware, where the track is not at a considerable height above ground the arrangement of the concrete beams has acted as giant snow fence rails causing significant overtrack drifting problems.
The experience to date suggests that the drifting problem is almost certainly worse than had these sections been built on an embankment with traditional ballast and sleeper track. That at least would have been much easier to maintain and repair / replace track sections.
The reason for using the concrete viaduct for all but the tunnel was to reduce the area of ground disturbance, this was taken to the point of hand digging some of the pier foundations. If any of the founds were not deep enough, frost heave could be a contributing factor?
One other issue is some of the rail plinths which are made of a cement/putty type material are disintegrating, if this was a steel structure these would not be used.
It has to be said it is beginning to look as if the Funicular is to continue to be used as a fairly high capacity high speed uplift, then operating costs are going to rise far higher than was ever anticipated with potentially regular interruptions to service to undertake checks and repairs.
If that turns out to be the case and operating the funicular as a low capacity and slower tourist ride would substantially reduce future costs, problems and out of service periods then it would look like putting in new high capacity snowsports uplift and keeping the funicular for sightseers could be a way forward.
A quad chair, detachable or not can get up to between 2000 and 2400 persons per hour per direction, twice the Funicular's theoretical capacity.
The Funicular should not be fixed at any cost (once off or ongoing) to safe face at HIE and one must ask given HIE knew of the developing situation with the Funicular since at least 2016 what was the motivation for their indecent haste to suddenly cut up the Coire na Ciste Chairlifts last summer?