railway was one of the great engineering feats of the Second World War.
Asian labourers and Prisoners of War (P.O.W.) moved 7 million cubic
metres of earth and rock in constructing the 415 kilometre railway; 14
kilometres of which were 8 steel and 640 timber bridges.
This famous steel bridge was built between
October 1942 and May 1943, using eleven 21 metre prefabricated spans
plundered by the Japanese from Dutch Java. At the same time a wooden
trestle bridge was built 300 metres downstream; it was immortalized in
the book and film "The Bridge on the River Kwai".
From February 1945 Allied aircraft raids
repeatedly damaged the bridges. P.O.W. from a large camp 400 metres
downstream repaired them; even so by June 1945 the bridges were
The steel bridge was repaired post-war with two
32 metre box-shaped spans, provided as War Reparation by the Japanese.
Still in daily use the bridge stands as a
memorial to the pain and suffering of so many.
||356 (Buried in U.S.A)
|Japanese and Korean
Construction time for the railway was 17 month. Period of effective use
was 21 months ending in June 1945. The railway line was dismantled by
the British after the war as it was unsafe. It was later relaid along
the section from The Bridge on the River Kwai to Nam Tok, a distance of
130kms. It is along this section that todays tourists can relive the
feelings of the war.