Signalman Wader´s Diary

Part 3

Saigon Times


Saigon Times - June 16th 1942

Burma and Thailand to have rail link

Paper plans for railway a connection between Bangkok and Burma, through primative jungles and over the almost impassable ``South Shan Mountains" will soon be realised through the efforts of the Nippon Engineering Corps.

The ``Nite Nite Correspondent" reported from a Nippon base in Burma, he said that both the Thailand and Burmese government had made plans for the rail road several times in the past between the unfinished 350 kilos section between Bangkok and Moulmein. But each time the idea was shelved because of the difficult terrain. Thailand in one of her efforts reached a point 70 kilos west of Bangkok, while Burma stopped work 80 kilos south of Moulmein. He said that the intervening mountains presented a barrier more than 5,000 feet high, covered with streaming malarial jungles inhabited only by wild animals, insects including giant ants one or more inch long, leeches as long and thick as your finger and monstrous lizards, snakes, jackal and hyena.

Despite all these nature discouragements to the introduction of civilisation, the report said the Nippon military authorities sent two groups of engineers for a preliminary survey who reported that the task of building the railroad through jungles was not impossible. Following favourable reports, the authorities both in Thailand and Burma started preparations for full-scale construction early this month, sending surveyors and building materials the correspondent said. He added however that the actual construction work on the railroad would not start until September - end of the rainy season, when Burma would employ hundreds of specially trained elephants for work. While at the Thailand end, blasting of the railroad route would begin. As this enterprise would require a large number of workers, military railroad experts have planned the construction of immense barracks to house labourers, while fully equipped modern hospitals would follow the railroad as it extended into the jungles. The correspondent concluded that the railroad was estimated to be finished in one year.





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