Some photos of Kanchanarburi

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Some photos of Kanchanarburi

Postby Roger Ramjet » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:17 pm

Here are some photos I took of the War Graves Cemetry the day before Anzac Day. The cemetry is slap bang right in the middle of the city and is a major tourist attraction. There is also a few photos of the Bridge Over the River Quai and show the reason why they no longer allow trains on the bridge. The trains are "stored" about half a mile away in another "museum" and I doubt will ever run again. The carriages are now playgrounds for children during the day and sleeping quarters for I don't know who at night. We were not allowed to park and take photos of them but my wife walked along to them and came back a little miffed. The train station is still fully manned even though the trains haven't run in years. There are piles of brand new concrete sleepers sitting, doing nothing, but looking good alongside the rotting wooden sleepers.
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Re: Some photos of Kanchanarburi

Postby Roger Ramjet » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:35 pm

As Hellfire Pass is an hour's drive from Kanchanarburi itself, we decided to stay at a large 500 room plus hotel in Kanchanarburi and I would make the drive to Hellfire Pass in a hire car at 0100hrs in the morning for the dawn service. The hotel is on 36 rai of land and is rated (by Thais) as a 5 star luxury hotel, newly built. It has a huge swimming pool and lies next to and overlooking the River Quai. To be honest it is an impressive hotel but only half functioning at this time. This being a building forum I took particular note of the whole construction. The manager was kind enough to give me a guided tour and explained all the problems that had beset them..... mostly with leaks when it rains, poor workmanship and massive cost overruns. I took a few photos of, what he regards as "his problems" and told him about this blog.
I was on a limited time schedule so I'm only going to paste three photos of real significance, but the painting of the entire structure was absolutely appalling with splashes of red paint on white, brush marks in red on white paint, and already cracks have appeared in the very expensive tiles, marble and granite.
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Re: Some photos of Kanchanarburi

Postby Ians » Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:56 pm

Looks just like a normal well built Thai construction, you should see some of the dodgy ones.
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Re: Some photos of Kanchanarburi

Postby Ians » Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:08 pm

Roger Ramjet wrote:Here are some photos I took of the War Graves Cemetry the day before Anzac Day. The cemetry is slap bang right in the middle of the city and is a major tourist attraction. There is also a few photos of the Bridge Over the River Quai and show the reason why they no longer allow trains on the bridge. The trains are "stored" about half a mile away in another "museum" and I doubt will ever run again. The carriages are now playgrounds for children during the day and sleeping quarters for I don't know who at night. We were not allowed to park and take photos of them but my wife walked along to them and came back a little miffed. The train station is still fully manned even though the trains haven't run in years. There are piles of brand new concrete sleepers sitting, doing nothing, but looking good alongside the rotting wooden sleepers.


It's quite a few years since I visited Kanchanarburi - very disappointing to hear that the railway doesn't function any more. It is for myself and many others quite a nostalgic bit of history to have a run on this rail system considering my father was part of the Thai Burma rail construction, of course it wasn't his choice but at the time he didn't have any say with his employment options - the saving grace was that he survived the ordeal and live a long but not always pleasant 82 years which undoubtedly would have been longer without the traumatic period in Thailand and Burma.
Hopefully one day it might get going again. .
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Re: Some photos of Kanchanarburi

Postby Roger Ramjet » Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:49 pm

Ians wrote:my father was part of the Thai Burma rail construction, of course it wasn't his choice but at the time he didn't have any say with his employment options -

I am going through about 500 photos at the moment. I have a shot of the only POW to come to Thailand who laid a wreath at Hellfire Pass and am trying to edit it as it was still quite dark when he was helped to the memorial cross. As I was not mobile I couldn't get near enough from where I was seated to take really good shots, so I used a power zoom lens, but the flash just wasn't powerful enough. And after the service every Tom, Dick, Harry and Somchai all wanted photos, whereas all I wanted to do was totter to the waiting golf buggy without falling over. As it was I had to put up with all the dickhead Naval and Air Force officers (Australian) all becoming instant physicians and saying they could see no reason why I couldn't walk all the way out. I actually became quite annoyed with them and asked if their eyesight was so bad they couldn't see which medals I was wearing and to guess the age I would be in that case. I was not impressed with the VIP arrangements at all, if there were any. I doubt I will ever go to Hellfire Pass ever again on Anzac Day.
Even Australian tourists said they were disappointed and would come back when there weren't so many people all crammed into too small a space. I'll post more suitable photos as I go through them.
To me the most disappointing aspect of the Bridge was the Memorial Wall and the filthy condition it was in; I suspect caused by the Thai food stalls. The American Legion tried to have the whole thing cleaned, but it's like having the sleepers replaced on the Bridge.
Ians wrote:Looks just like a normal well built Thai construction, you should see some of the dodgy ones.

You should have visited a whole wing that is closed through water damage. It really was a nice hotel/resort and the gardens were spectacular. It would have been worth 4.5 stars if the walls were straight, the roof tiles and cement had been professionally done and not falling apart, but at least the columns were straight and the pool was something to kill for. I was tempted to go fishing but was too exhausted.
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Re: Some photos of Kanchanarburi

Postby Sometimewoodworker » Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:07 am

SRT still lists trains to Nam Tok twice a day, and the sleepers on the bridge look the same as they did on all my visits to the bridge

257, 259 Thon Bury to Nam Tok 7:50, 13:55
260, 258 Nam Tok to Thon Bury 5:20, 12:55
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Re: Some photos of Kanchanarburi

Postby Ians » Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:46 am

Sometimewoodworker wrote:SRT still lists trains to Nam Tok twice a day, and the sleepers on the bridge look the same as they did on all my visits to the bridge

257, 259 Thon Bury to Nam Tok 7:50, 13:55
260, 258 Nam Tok to Thon Bury 5:20, 12:55


Good news.
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Re: Some photos of Kanchanarburi

Postby Roger Ramjet » Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:45 am

Sometimewoodworker wrote:SRT still lists trains to Nam Tok twice a day, and the sleepers on the bridge look the same as they did on all my visits to the bridge

257, 259 Thon Bury to Nam Tok 7:50, 13:55
260, 258 Nam Tok to Thon Bury 5:20, 12:55

A little like all the Elvis is alive websites, just another fantasy.
Why don't you ring the SRT and make a booking? The train terminates at Kanchanarburi.
I would have taken photos of the really rotten ones, unfortunately they had all fallen into the river and had metal plates over them so the tourists didn't follow suit.
Perhaps you'd like to tell everyone when the last of your "all my visits to the bridge" was? Mine was on the 24th April.
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Re: Some photos of Kanchanarburi

Postby Ians » Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:40 am

There is another although smaller cemetery down stream from the bridge on the opposite side - can't recall its name but worth a short boat ride to visit.
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Re: Some photos of Kanchanarburi

Postby Roger Ramjet » Tue Apr 28, 2015 10:46 am

Ians wrote:There is another although smaller cemetery down stream from the bridge on the opposite side - can't recall its name but worth a short boat ride to visit.

There are a number of museums, gravesites and places of interest I would have loved to have visited, however, two days including all the travel was nowhere near long enough. I spoke with a lot of Australian tourists who were all staying for 3 to 4 days waiting for when it was quieter.
The Hellfire Pass museum was so full that nobody could move. They estimated the crowds to be nearly 10,000 and they had only catered for 5,000. They ran out of parking space in the huge grass car park and were using the roadways to take all the extra buses, hire cars and taxis and private vehicles. At the Dawn Service down at Hellfire Pass they claimed they were limiting the number of people to 1,200 because it is such a small area, but the Air Force and Navy officers had different lists of VIPs expected on the day and of course, as it was organised by the Australian Embassy, they had a different list to the Navy and Air Force officers and their civilian organiser man (Mick Clark) was nowhere to be seen. The Army kept right out of the bun fight and the Diggers just organised transport, made sure people got from point A to point B and ignored all the lists. They also carried out all the ceremonial duties including the Catapult Party and escorts at both locations.
I don't think there was much cooperation between the civilians who organised it and the Military Attaches who thought they organised it and were treating everyone not in uniform as interloping sheep. I was actually impressed with the Federal Police and staff from the Consular Section who had the real lists but were intimidated by the Navy and Air Force officers.
The Australian War Graves Commission manager Michael Newbatt, who ran the Memorial Service at the main cemetry at 1100hrs was a lot more organised with his Thai staff and that part seemed to run like clockwork.
If I ever go again Hellfire Pass and the Dawn Service will not be on my list, but I will go to the cemetry you mentioned, along with the two museums I missed out on.
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Re: Some photos of Kanchanarburi

Postby Roger Ramjet » Tue Apr 28, 2015 10:54 am

Two more photos that I have downsized:
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Re: Some photos of Kanchanarburi

Postby Nakhonsri » Wed Apr 29, 2015 7:45 pm

Hi Roger
I work at the embassy as a local hire, but have a long background of DFAT overseas service before I retired. I have not attended the ANZAC services here, but have been responsible for their organisation in other locales (Middle East). I will bring your matters to the relevant staff's attention for future consideration. For information, it is a catafalque, not a catapult. though the latter may have been useful in bypassing the throngs !
I know both Micks and will pass on your comments when I see them.
I regularly visit this blog site and have been renovating a typical Thai construction in Ban Krut, Bang Saphan, Prachuap Kiri Khan. It is a beautiful area and well worth a visit sometime. The information available on here is very useful, though I think that folk sometimes have an elevated expectation, and it is sometimes necessary to compromise on perfect finishes in favour of something practical but less aesthetic.
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Re: Some photos of Kanchanarburi

Postby Sometimewoodworker » Wed Apr 29, 2015 8:47 pm

Roger Ramjet wrote:
Sometimewoodworker wrote:SRT still lists trains to Nam Tok twice a day, and the sleepers on the bridge look the same as they did on all my visits to the bridge

257, 259 Thon Bury to Nam Tok 7:50, 13:55
260, 258 Nam Tok to Thon Bury 5:20, 12:55

A little like all the Elvis is alive websites, just another fantasy.
Why don't you ring the SRT and make a booking? The train terminates at Kanchanarburi.
I would have taken photos of the really rotten ones, unfortunately they had all fallen into the river and had metal plates over them so the tourists didn't follow suit.
Perhaps you'd like to tell everyone when the last of your "all my visits to the bridge" was? Mine was on the 24th April.

You might like to actually read my post.

I did not say the trains run to Nam Tok. I said that SRT lists them as running to and from Nam Tok.

My visits to the bridge started about 25 years ago and I have visited quite a few times over the years since then, and ridden a motorcycle over the bridge a few times as well so you can be sure I looked carefully at what I was riding over, and as I said "the sleepers on the bridge look the same as they did on all my visits to the bridge"

It seems that there has been much more rapid deterioration, which was not pictured, since my last visit.

SRT does not usually accept bookings for third class trains.
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Re: Some photos of Kanchanarburi

Postby Sometimewoodworker » Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:10 pm

Ians wrote:There is another although smaller cemetery down stream from the bridge on the opposite side - can't recall its name but worth a short boat ride to visit.


It is the Chung Kai Allied War Memorial and is a much more peaceful place than the Kanchanaburi Allied War Cemetery.

On the occasions I've been there it seemed slightly better kept than the one in town, though that could be because fewer people visit so there is less wear and tear. If you can only visit one, and are not looking for somebody in particular, it is the better one to spend time at.
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Re: Some photos of Kanchanarburi

Postby Roger Ramjet » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:04 am

Nakhonsri wrote:I work at the embassy as a local hire, but have a long background of DFAT overseas service before I retired. I have not attended the ANZAC services here, but have been responsible for their organisation in other locales (Middle East). I will bring your matters to the relevant staff's attention for future consideration.

I have sent you a comprehensive reply by mail. If you have any further questions I will supply my email address, home address and phone numbers.
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