BANGKOK (AFP) – A fire broke out on a luxury tourist train in Thailand on Sunday as it headed towards a region known for inspiring the film “The Bridge on the River Kwai”, but no one was injured, police said.
The front locomotive of the plush Eastern & Oriental Express caught fire shortly after leaving Kanchanaburi, a town in western Thailand famous for its World War II-era bridge spanning the River Kwai and nearby national park.
“Around 160 tourists were onboard and nobody was injured,” said local police officer Sukon Ras-Iam, adding that the driver disconnected the burning locomotive after spotting the flames.
It took firefighters around 30 minutes to put out the blaze and the train resumed its journey, said Sukon.
Police investigations are under way to determine the cause of the fire. The Eastern & Oriental Express is run by the British hotel and leisure firm Belmond, formerly known as Orient-Express Hotels.
The train is due to travel onwards to Malaysia and Singapore after departing Thailand. Tourists flock to Kanchanaburi to see a bridge spanning the River Kwai that was constructed by prisoners of war who endured brutal treatment at the hands of their Japanese overlords.
Their experiences building what came to be known as the “Death Railway” were later captured in the 1950s classic movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai”.