The Garret Tree
Friday, April 08, 2005
  UN proposes to rebuild the Burma Thailand Railway

It appears the United Nations has proposed a plan that includes rebuilding the Burma Thailand Railway.

A Google search turns up the most interesting and unexpected things.
I was looking for one fact as I edit The Sonkrai Tribunal, the height of Three Pagoda Pass between Thailand and Myanmar. (220 metres by the way)

I found the reference in a United Nations report on what's called the TransAsian Railway, an ambitious plan to join most of the rail lines of Asia. And that plan includes rebuilding the link that was once the Burma Thailand Railway, also called the Railway of Death.

After the Second World War, Great Britain sold the railway to Thailand for £1.5 million but it proved to be both dangerous and uneconomic and the line north of Nam Tok was torn up. There is local and tourist traffic from Kanchanaburi to Nam Tok today.

The 1999 report proposes rebuilding the length that was torn up from the current last station at Nam Tok back up to Three Pagoda Pass and then back to down to Thanbyuzayat.

An alternative route would go south in Myanmar from Ye to Dawai cross into Thailand at Bang Bong Tee and join the existing line at Nam Tok.

If this dream ever works (and politics would play a big part) it might be possible, one day, in the future, to take a train from Frankfurt to Bangkok, via Tehran and India through the mountains on the rebuilt Burma-Thailand Railway.

According to the UN report Thailand and Myanmar actually had a meeting in 1998 to discuss the feasibility of the the two routes. (Details on page 51 of the report, link below).

The Three Pagoda Pass route would follow the old rail line to the current Khao Laem dam where it would follow the route of the current highway around the reservoir to the pass. The plans call for three new bridges crossing the Kwai Noi, the Hui Yae and the Precam Nai. (Map of the proposed railway is on page 53).

Within Mynamar the new railway would follow the old Second World War Route, to Thanbyuzayat, "and could utilize 12 of the old station sites."

The cost of this new Burma-Thailand Railway, using modern equipment and labour paid according to local conditions (not slaves) would be US $1.75 million per kilometre, for a total of US $268 million in Thailand and US $192 million in Myanmar.

It also notes that the alternative southern route via Dawai and Nam Tok would cost less, $262 million as opposed to $460 million and generate higher freight tonnage, thus justifying the investment. (Possible offshore oil is also a motivation for the southern route).

The railway plan is from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

You can find the main page for the TransAsian Railway Southern Corridor at this link.
There you can either click on the green graphic for the full report.
Download the report in PDF format Development of the Trans-Asian Railway: Trans-Asian Railway in the Southern Corridor of Asia-Europe Routes, 1999.
Links to this post

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home
I write in a renovated garret in my house in a part of Toronto, Canada, called "The Pocket." The blog is named for a tree can be seen outside the window of my garret.

My Photo
Name: Robin Rowland
Location: Toronto, Canada

I'm a Toronto-based writer, photographer, web producer, television producer, journalist and teacher. I'm author of five books, the latest A River Kwai Story: The Sonkrai Tribunal. The Garret tree is my blog on the writing life including my progress on my next book (which will be announced here some time in the coming months) My second blog, the Wampo, Nieke and Sonkrai follows the slow progress of my freelanced model railway based on my research on the Burma Thailand Railway (which is why it isn't updated that often) The Creative Guide to Research, based on my book published in 2000 is basically an archive of news, information and hints for both the online and the shoe-leather" researcher. (Google has taken over everything but there are still good hints there)

New blogs as of Sept. 2009
Robin's Weir
Tao of News

November 2004 / December 2004 / January 2005 / March 2005 / April 2005 / May 2005 / June 2005 / July 2005 / August 2005 / September 2005 / October 2005 / November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / April 2007 / May 2007 / August 2007 / September 2007 / October 2007 / December 2007 / January 2008 / February 2008 / March 2008 / April 2008 / May 2008 / June 2008 / August 2008 / September 2008 / November 2008 / January 2009 / February 2009 / March 2009 / April 2009 / May 2009 / August 2009 /

    follow me on Twitter

    A River Kwai Story
    A River Kwai Story
    The Sonkrai Tribunal