The notorious Burma-Siam railway, built by British, Australian, Dutch and American prisoners of war, was a Japanese project inspired by the need for improved communications to maintain the large Japanese army in Burma. During its construction more than 16,000 prisoners of war died-mainly of sickness, malnutrition and exhaustion - and were buried along the railway. Imprest Burmese and Malay labourers too died in their thousands-exactly how many will never be known. The Japanese kept no records and it was impossible for anyone else to do so, nor were the graves marked, but between 80,000 and 100,000 perished. The railway has been purchased by the Thai Government from its starting point at Ban Pong to the Burmese border, and it is now part of the Royal State railways. It is open to general traffic from Ban Pong to Kanchanaburi, about 33 miles.
When the railway was finished some of the PoWs were put to work on the Mergui Road. This was an escape route for the Japanese from Burma if the railway was out of action due to Allied bombing.
The death rate was very high.
Mergui Road - Short History
Mergui Road - Detailed History with maps, camps
Mergui Road Roll
Thailand-Burma Railway - Short History
Thailand-Burma Railway - Detailed History with maps, camps
Thailand-Burma Railway Roll
Chungkai Site Plan
Kanchanaburi Site Plan
Thanbyuzayat Site Plan