After World War Two, much of the infamous Burma Railway was torn up.
Local tribes people used the rails for building houses.
But in 1947, the line was re-opened from its origin at Nong Pladuk Junction
west of Bangkok to Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi (Sai Yok Noi Waterfall).
Trains terminate at the nearby Nam Tok station as there are no facilities for locomotives
to run round their trains at the end of the line.
Currently there are two daily trains from Bangkok Thonburi to Nam Tok,
and a daily return local service to Nong Pladuk.
There is no freight traffic on the line.
Kanchanaburi is the largest town on the route and features several historic sites.
Perhaps the most famous is the Bridge on the River Kwai.
This is actually a steel and concrete structure, not the wooden bridge
depicted in the famous film starring Alec Guinness.
Opposite the railway station there is the immaculately maintained Allied War Cemetary,
which serves as a memorial to the nearly 13000 Allied prisoners of war,
who died building the railway.
In common with many Thai stations, Kanchanaburi hosts a 'Gate Guardian';
in this case a 1926 vintage Henschel Beyer Garratt monster.
The Carr family took a trip from Kanchanaburi to Nam Tok in October 2014.
The train from Bangkok arrived a few minutes late,
and the engine then spent time marshalling extra carriages onto the train.
These are for tourists, who can buy rather expensive (by Thai standards) tickets
to travel in 3rd class coaches bearing old photos from the Japanese military railway.
If you don't want to waste your money, as a foreigner you pay 100 baht (about £1.95)
for a 3rd single to Nam Tok. Thais travel free!
The journey is scheduled for two hours, and the distance is about 70 km (43.75 miles).
After picking up the extra coaches, we left about 15 minutes late.
First stop was River Kwai Bridge , after which we crossed over the river
at less than the 10 kph (6.25 mph) line-speed.
The reason being that the bridge also carries thousands of pedestrians daily,
and train drivers are understandably reluctant to flatten them.
Once across the river, we picked up speed to 65 kph (40.6 mph),
which is the line-speed for most of the line.
As well as staffed stations, we made brief stops at several unmanned halts,
the briefest of which was only five seconds!
Between the two stations at Tham Krasae are two wooden trestle bridges
known collectively as Wampo Viaduct, built during the war.
Although they do not actually cross the river, they parallel it alongside sheer cliffs.
Linespeed here is also 10 kph (6.25 mph).
Listening to the timbers creaking as the train slowly passes over them
conjures up thoughts of the Tay Bridge disaster!
Along the line we saw a large stock of new rails and concrete sleepers.
Having looked at the woeful state of the track at Nam Tok,
these replacements are urgently needed.
Indeed, in Autumn 2014, the luxury Eastern and Oriental Express
derailed on the line
after the rails spread under its weight.
There are no signals along the single line. Train control is exclusively by token.
If you have the token, you have the right of way.
Given the low traffic density, this is hardly a problem.
Somehow, we had lost more time en route,
so we were 35 minutes late arriving at Nam Tok.
From there it is a short bus ride to the waterfall for which the station is named.
By the time we had eaten lunch, there was not much time to see and play in the water,
a fact, which seriously displeased my young daughter!
The return train departed on time,
but somehow lost 30 minutes en route to Kanchanaburi,
so it was nearly dark by the time we left the train.