Frank McVey recently shared the fascinating story of the Siam-Burma Railway over in the Google Earth Community. The railway was built during World War II, as an effort to help connect the railway systems of Singapore, Malaya, Siam and Burma.
Frank’s full post goes into great detail about the railway, including a variety of maps and images related to the planning, construction and use of it:
In the end, the railway was built in 16 months – between June 1942 and October 1943 – by virtually-unaided human muscle power and became perhaps the greatest engineering feat of the Second World War. However, the fears of the earlier British surveyors were realised; through accident, disease, malnutrition, over-work, incompetent logistics, theft of Red Cross supplies by the Japanese guards, criminal neglect and extreme brutality by the Japanese guards and engineers and their even more brutal Korean overseers, some 16,000 POWs and 120,000 native labourers died in its construction: they say that a man died for every sleeper (cross-tie) laid. Thousands of those who survived returned home as ruined men; many of them suffered life-long mental and physical incapacitation. Some of them – now very old men – are still suffering.
Great work, Frank!