The Tha Kilen Train Station holds significant relevance in Thai history, more specifically with the construction of the Death Railway. Ban Tha Kilen was indeed a work camp for prisoners of war used during WWII.
One of the inland outings of the cruise along the River Kwai is the boarding of a train that runs to Saphan Tham Krasae, between Tha Kilen and Nam Tok. The train takes you across the ‘setting’ where so many POWs and forced laborers lost their lives during WWII.
As you chug along the Kwai Noi Valley seventy-seven kilometers short stretch, you will come across an erstwhile POW camp. Although nowadays a peaceful resort, it was then known as the cutting-camp, where countless allied lives were also brutally lost.
The next daunting part of the experience is the crossing over the Tham Krasae Bridge, a wooden viaduct, also known as the Wampo Viaduct. This 300-meter long trestle bridge precariously clings to the cave-ridden cliff, threatening to give way to the devastating drop below.
After a short stop at Wang Po Station, the train continues its journey to Nam Tok Station. It then runs alongside a particularly lovely stretch of the Kwai Noi, as you gaze out over the river at the temples and the scene below. You’ll unquestionably be awed by its beautiful banks thick with luscious jungle and not a raft house on sight. Distant tree-clad peaks also frame the whole vista.
The station at the northern end of the trestle bridge is called Tham Krasae, named after the cave indented in the rock face beside the bridge. The Krasae Cave is just a short walk away from the station. You can also see the cave resident Buddha image from the train.