To Hell Fire Pass


an interesting locomotive; a ghost from the past

I took a train ride yesterday. Not because I needed to be somewhere, just because I fancied a train ride. It was a proper old train where you sit with your elbow on the sill of the open window as the warm wind blows onto your face and the sound of the jungle insects is drowned out by the clattering of the wheels over the ancient tracks.
This is the track built during the Second World War by Allied prisoners and native slave labour with the intention of transporting Japanese troops to the British Empire. The line is still in daily use taking passengers from Bangkok to the Burmese border. It is, I think, fair to say that it is not in pristine condition. I have never before been on a train where the suspension bottoms out over the bumps. I don’t think that it would be totally unrealistic to describe it as a disaster waiting to happen.
That a a railway reputed to be have been built at a cost of one human life per sleeper laid should now be a tourist attraction is something that I cannot help but ponder as we rattle and bounce along the eroding line. When asked about the American war and the feeling of his people towards the US a good Vietnamese friend said “we think about the future, not the past”.
For now I shall leave you with a few images from my day out.


watching the jungle pass by


a wooded bridge carved into the cliff face


the ancient track is far from pristine


damage abounds


a loco from days of yore


drivers eye view


flaking paint


'tis a big old machine



4 thoughts on “To Hell Fire Pass

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