Japans Thailand/Burma Railways

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by jonwilly, Sep 9, 2005.

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  1. It was only yesterday in a copy of the Bangkok Post that I learned that there was a second Thailand Burma railway built by the Japanese.
    This railway ran to the Thai port of Ranong on the Pak Chan River, which separated it from the southernmost point of Burma. Ranong is approx 30 kms from the main north south line that cums up through Malaya from Singapore. I am attempting to find out more, but like the Infamous Kanachaburi Death railway it too seems too have been ripped up at end of WW II.
    A modern map suggest that on the Burmese side the railway comes close to Kawthaung (Victoria Point) Burma's southern most town and I will attempt to find out if in the 40s the line did already go all the way.
    john
     
  2. We have a mid 80s retired former RE major in CM and I asked him why the Kanachaburi railway was not used post war and then was ripped up.
    He was in Thailand as part of the Indian Army Div (8th) disarming surrenderd Jap personnel in August 45 and had exstensive knowledge of railways , Blowing them up from 42-43 and maintaing, repairing 44-45 as he jokeingly says.
    The line built by slave labour was built to War time emergency standards and for peacetime cival use would have needed to be rebuilt completely. Not economic.
    To build the railway quickly jap dismantled a major branch line in Malaya, which went off to Malaya east coast, line and complete infrastructure and the Malay gov wanted their line back.
    Britian was the major maritime power and the shipping companys did not want a competitor so political influence was used to get rid of the new line.
    Also the route via Kanachaburi was the classic invasion route to central Thailand from Burma so the Thai government probably did not want a main axis for the new Burma government in event of trouble.
    john
     
  3. Jon,
    There was at least one more death railway on Java...as bad as the Burma Railway by all accounts.
    But no-one made a film about it.
    So no-one remembers it.
    So that's all right then.

    Keep reading about it; keep talking about it. We owe them that much at least.
     
  4. Our old vet here has only just got out of dock. He called me last night and said he had never heard about the southern railway and would I let him have the artical. He has conntacts of old and will chase matters up.
    john
     
  5. There's a discussion of this railway (by what appears to be a group of Thai Railway enthusiasts) here.

    Seems that most of the POWs were Malaysian Indian, which is probably why it's not so well known.

    .