Photo: Choo choo.

The Death Railway Museum

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Thanbyuzayat was the terminus of the infamous Death Railway built using forced labour overseen by the Japanese army during World War II. A modest museum, newly opened in early 2016, commemorates this for the first time.

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The line linked existing rail tracks at Thailand’s Kanchanaburi with Burma’s Yangon to Dawei line. Most of the track, including the most difficult sections, lay in Thailand but a substantial stretch led down from Three Pagodas’ Pass on the border to the junction town of Thanbyuzayat. A large Allied war cemetery close to the museum testifies to the fact that plenty of prisoners also lost their lives constructing the Burmese part.

The Japanese train. Photo taken in or around The Death Railway Museum, Mawlamyine, Burma_myanmar by Mark Ord.

The Japanese train. Photo: Mark Ord

Up until recently all that you could see in Thanbyuzayat was a rusty old weed-choked train and a few metres of rail track at the side of the road. Unlike the Hellfire Pass Museum sponsored by the Australian government and the nearby cemetery cared for by the Commonwealth Graves Commission, this new two-storey museum was paid for by the Burmese government. While considerable effort clearly went into it, at the end of the day they simply do not have much to display.

The old Japanese train has been repainted in what purports to be original colours (it used to be British racing green) and a section of the track has been restored. Incidentally, legend has it that the first train to complete the journey on the harrowing line was a train load of “comfort women” for Japanese officers. Otherwise the museum exhibits consist of dummy guards and prisoners labouring in the garden and a collection of copies of ... Travelfish members only (Around 300 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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The Death Railway Museum
Ye Road, near the main roundabout, Thanbyuzayat
Daily 08:00-16:30
Admission: Free/$5

Location map for The Death Railway Museum

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