Bridge on the River Kwai & Death Railway
Kanchanaburi is located 120 kilometers west of Bangkok, at the point where two tributaries, the Kwai Noi and Kwai
Yai meet and form the Mae Khlong River. This is the location of the notorious Death Railway and the Bridge on the River Kwai, one of the world’s most famous World War II sites.
The Thai-Burma Railway, also known as the Death Railway, was 415 km (258 mile) long, running between Bangkok , Thailand and Rangoon, Burma, it was built by the Japanese in 1943 during World War II, to support its forces in the Burma campaign .
Forced labour was used in its construction. About 60,000 Allied prisoners of war (POWs) worked on the railway, of these16,000 died.
The first temporary wooden Bridge over the Kwai Yai was finished in February 1943, followed by a concrete and steel bridge in June 1943.
The Allies made several attempts to destroy the bridges, but succeeded only in damaging them in their first attempts. Between April and June1945 Allied bombers destroyed the wooden bridge completely and the central section of the steel and concrete bridge.
After the war, two rectangular central sections were made in Japan to repair the bridge, and were donated to Thailand. The arched sections are original.
After the war the heavily damaged railway was reconstructed and by 1958 the line had been rebuilt up to Nam Tok. The present railway now measures about 130 km. (80 miles) long, beyond Nam Tok the line has been abandoned.