Thai-Burmar Railway

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- International' started by marnlq, Sep 30, 2004.

  1. marnlq

    marnlq Member

    Just back from Thailand, have been to Kachanaburi, the province where the well-known Thai-Burmar Railroad passing through. Posting a few pics here...

    The Thai-Burmar Railway
    In Dec. 1941, the Pacific War began with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, Hawaii and the invasion of Malaya. By mid 1942, the Japanese forces were fighting against the British in Burmar. To maintain their armies in Burmar, the Japanese needed a more secure route than the sea. They decided to build a railway, 415 km long , through jungle and mountain from Ban Pong in Thai to Hhanbyuzayat in Burmar.

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Engineers had surveyed the 415 km route but expressed doubts about the economics of the project. However with a vast source of labor at their disposal in the form of Allied Prisoners of War it was planned to begin construction from both ends at once using meter gauge single track.[/font]

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The first prisoners arriving at Ban Pong to begin construction on 23 June 1942[/font]

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Prisoners were working at least 16 [/font]hours[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif] up to 22 hours straight shifts, and once you fell down you seldom got up, you were kicked to death,[/font]

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]More than 16,000 prisoners died during the construction of the railway or about thirty-eight prisoners for every km of railway built. The prisoners died because of sickness, malnutrition and exhaustion. There was very little or no medical treatment available and many prisoners suffered horribly before they died.[/font]

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The prisoner's diet consisted of rice and salted vegetables served twice a day. Sometimes they were forced to work up to sixteen hours a day under atrocious conditions. Many prisoners were tortured for the smallest offenses. The Japanese commander's motto was "if you work hard you will be treated well, but if you do not work hard you will be punished."[/font]

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Punishments included savage beatings, being made to kneel on sharp sticks while holding a boulder for one to three hours at a time and being tied to a tree with barbed wire and left there for two to three days without any food or water.

    Most prisoners were barefooted, and had only a loincloth. Nothing in the way of clothing nothing in the way of what we consider the necessities of life including food.[/font] [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Working with a sledgehammer and tap to clear massive rocks that lay in the railway's path, and that prisoners at first did not know they were building a railway.[/font]
  2. marnlq

    marnlq Member

    Lay out

    It is the lay out in the museum

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  3. marnlq

    marnlq Member

    Another one

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  4. marnlq

    marnlq Member


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  5. marnlq

    marnlq Member

    A train used in the World War II

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  6. marnlq

    marnlq Member

    I also took the train through the "death railroad"

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  7. marnlq

    marnlq Member

    Famous - the bridge over the river Kwai

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  8. marnlq

    marnlq Member

    The last one

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    • Tomb.JPG
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  9. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Please forgive my ignorance of war history but what nationality made up the largest amount of the Allied Prisoners of War? What I am getting at is who (major nationality) gave their lives to build this railroad?
  10. marnlq

    marnlq Member

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Workers on the Death Railway [/font][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Total Deaths[/font]

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Asian Laborers [/font][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]200,000 [/font][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]+/- 80,000[/font]

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]British POW's [/font][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]30,000 [/font][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]6,540[/font]

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Dutch POW's [/font][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]18,000 [/font][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]2,830[/font]

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Australian POW's [/font][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]13,000 [/font][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]2,710[/font]

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]American POW's [/font][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]700 [/font][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]+/- 356[/font]

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Korean & [/font][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]15,000 [/font][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]1,000[/font]

    Japanese soldiers
  11. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Interesting Photo's
  12. krokodil

    krokodil Member


    I plan to visit these places in 2 month and also continue to Cambodia. I am already very excited for this railroad experience.

    Thank you for the photos.
  13. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Yes, I lost relatives on that railroad in WW2.
    Thanks for the photos

  14. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Great pictures, history and report - thanks for posting that!
  15. SAL Comet

    SAL Comet Member

    Thanks for the interesting pics, although a very dark part of railroad history.
  16. Turbomotive

    Turbomotive New Member

    I know this line well and have ridden it many times. The start point for travellers is Thonburi station right near my house and where they keep one of those moguls (from Japan) in steaming order.

    At Kanchanaburi station, about a mile before the bridge, you'll see a Garret on static display, the only metre-gauge Garret to my knowledge.

    The modern line follows the River Kwae (rhymes with "air") valley and terminates at Nam Tok, in the middle of nowhere but near some waterfalls.

    Hellfire Pass, a few miles further on, pictured here, is tremendously moving. Narrow roadbed hacked out of solid rock, precipitous fall, astonishing view and the cries of tortured souls.

    One man dead for every sleeper (crosstie). Mostly Asians, Chinese and Koreans, populations of countries occupied by Japan at the time and treated brutally. As were the PoWs (I'm a Brit myself).

    On another track...
    There's a line in Cambodia between Siam Reap/Battambang and Phnom Penh, but the rolling stock hasn't been upgraded since the 1960s.

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