Luxury train to Tibet delayed again

A planned luxury train to Tibet has been postponed for the second time in a year, the operator said Monday, adding the global slowdown – not simmering tension in the Himalayan region – was to blame.

Tangula Luxury Trains, which was expected to launch high-class tours from Beijing to Lhasa in April this year, said it would delay the start of package holidays on the world’s highest railway until spring 2010.

“The rescheduling of our official launch was a very recent decision and was taken by our management in light of the current global economic climate,” a Beijing-based spokeswoman told AFP.

The rescheduling has resulted in the company forfeiting “a few million dollars” in advance bookings, she said.

The spokeswoman denied reports that raised tension in Tibet had led the company to postpone the tours, which will cost up to 5,000 dollars for a single first class berth from Beijing to Lhasa.

The announcement comes after numerous China-based tour operators said foreign travel to Tibet was being curbed during this month’s 50th anniversary of a failed anti-Chinese uprising that resulted in the exile of the Dalai Lama.

Tangula had originally announced plans to begin train services to Lhasa following the Beijing Olympics in August last year, but after unrest erupted in Tibet in March 2008 those plans were pushed back until April this year.

The spokeswoman said the company has invested about 100 million dollars in its luxury trains. Source: Relaxnews