22 Mar 2015 - The Death Railway
Today we took the train from Kanchanaburi to Nam Tok - the devil's railway. The Japanese built it during World War 2 as a supply route to Burma using British, Australian and Dutch POWs and conscripted Asian labourers. Conditions were terrible with limited tools, long working hours and insufficient rations. This combined with regular beatings from the guards meant hundreds of thousands died building the line hence the nickname of the death railway. Today it ends in Nam Tok, the section from there to Burma having been dismantled after the war, and is mostly a tourist attraction and monument to those that died. Even at 6am there was quite a crowd of photographers waiting for the train to cross the famous bridge over the River Kwai. At the other end we took the bus up to the museum where you can walk a few km of the old railway route through Hellfire Pass, a section where nearly all who worked on it died. Given how much we were sweating just doing a little walk along the trail it's hard to imagine doing any physical work in this heat, let alone in the conditions they were subjected to. We got the bus back in time to see the last train coming into Kanchanaburi, once it had cleared the hundreds of people taking selfies on the bridge.