Photographer's Note

So much has been written about the Hellfire pass a bit north of Kanchanaburi, but when walking there not much can be seen. It all looks so completely normal, but according to history it was not such a peaceful and extremely sweaty place then today.

Hellfire Pass or Konyu cutting was a particularly difficult section of the line to build, not only because it was the largest rock cutting on the railway, but also because of its remoteness and the lack of proper construction tools during building. The Australian, British, Dutch and other allied Prisoners of War were required to work here 18 hours a day to complete the cutting. It was estimated that 68 men were beaten to death by the Japanese guards in the six weeks it took to complete, although many more died from cholera, dysentery, starvation, and exhaustion. However, the majority of deaths occurred amongst laborers whom the Japanese enticed help build the line with promises of good jobs. These laborers, mostly Malayans, suffered the same as the POWs.

The railway was never built to a level of lasting permanence and was frequently bombed by the Royal Air Force during the Burma Campaign. After the war, all but the present section was closed and there are no longer any trains running on this stretch of the line.

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Additional Photos by Urs Muller (Urs) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1444 W: 83 N: 3294] (14082)
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