Death Railway, Kanchanabury, Thailand

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Death Railway

The Burma Railway, or Burma-Siam Railway is a Railway that was intended to connect Bangkok (formally named Siam) with Myanmar (formally Burma). This Railway was made by prisoners of war during the second world war. The section of the Railway that these prisoners of war and forced laborours mainly worked on was the section between Nong Pladuk, Thailand and Thanbyauzayat, Myanmar. The prisoners also referred to the Railway as the “Death Railway”, as so many prisoners did not survive the hard labour. The work on the Railway started in September 1942 and was finished in December 1943.

Picture: Death Railway Picture: Death Railway

Talking about numbers, about 75 people died of starvation, illness or pure exhoustion each day. Among the prisoners of war and enslaved people were, Indonesians, Malaysians, Burmese and Western people. Approximately 100,000 Asian prisoners died and about 15,000 Westerners (Australians, Americans, Dutch and English people).

Picture: Death Railway Picture: Death Railway

People also died in the camps from bombings of the West (Allied forces), as their camp sites were typycally set up, right next to the Railway, which was a bombing target. The dead were typically “burried” right next to the Railway. However, they were later reburried at 3 different honour fields in Kanchanabury and Chungkai in Thailand and Thanbyuzayat in Myanmar.

Picture: Death Railway station Picture: Death Railway river view

The pictures are of Death Railway. A piece of the tracks have been appointed to form a symbol of the Death Railway. At the entrance there are different small restaurants and souvenir shops, set up especially for tourists. If you mention that you want to go see Death Railway to your taxi-driver, the driver will most likely take you here. You can walk over the tracks for a couple of hundred meters, and walk over a wooden structure, supporting the tracks right next to a steep rocky wall. It must have cost a lot of time and effort to build this structure from the ground up to support the cross-over. The site is really impressive to visit, especially if you think about what has happened there all those years ago…

Picture: Death Railway Cave Picture: Death Railway Cave

Right next to the wooden support frame, you can take a de-tour into a cave. Now functioning as a worshipping area, and for tourists to have their fortune told. A Thai cave-keeper will give you a bucket with many straws in in. Then, you have to kneel downs and shake the bucket untill one straw fals out. The first straw that falls out is the straw for you. The straw contains a number, and the number relates to a big paper hanging on the wall, which mentions the future expectations for you. Whether it is really true? We couldnt tell!

Picture: Death Railway tracks Picture: Death Railway tracks

You can walk on and over the tracks, but keep in mind, there is currently still a train going on the Death Railway tracks.


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