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Modern Pekanbaru 

In all areas the railway has been removed and is difficult to find, especially around the Metropolis of Pekanbaru, (the fastest growing city in Indonesia; at 1 million currently).

When the line was under construction the under brush was cut back and the area would have been clear of vegetation but today the jungle has claimed back what was always hers. This is particularly evident at Petai and the coal mine as well as the Kuantan Gorge between camps 10 to 12.  Leeches and Mosquito’s are abundant but don’t create a real problem. Wild pigs and snakes are also plenty. Visual signs of the railway can still be seen when travelling south on the road to Teluk Kuantan.

Click on the camps below to find out more about whats left of them today

A map of the railway line from Pekanbaru to Muaro



The camps were built within a few kilometers of local villages (Kampung) that were there long before the war. Some of these camps were only active for very short periods. The names listed above are how these villages/camp locations are known by the local people today. 


The railway predominately followed the existing road wherever possible, crossing in various positions. Today, the road positions have been re-aligned due to river erosion, urbanization, industrial, and agricultural progress.

Camp Name Changes


Camp 3 was originally called Kotabulu. It is now called Teretak Buluh, although the true location of the camp is Kampung Petas.

Camp 10 was originally called Lubuk Ambachang. The name is unchanged but the camp is was actually located at Kota Kombu.

Camp 11 was originally called Padang Tarap. It is now called Padang Tarok.

Camp 12 was originally called Siloewah. It is now called Silukuh.

Recycled rail from the death railway Sumatra

The common use of railway irons after it was removed 

Rails can still be found as fences and hiding in obscure places. The date stamps on located rails have been 1889, 1891, 1913, 1915 & 1930. These rails were manufactured by Krupp (JSS + SSS) & Ougree.

The other abundant material that is used on a railway are the sleepers. These are mainly constructed of wood, and can still be found lining the embankments and in creeks that the railway crossed. Recently metal sleepers have been found at Kota Baru, and these were used on the 700mm push cart line at the Petai coal mine.

In 1997 a locomotive was cut up with Oxy-Acetylene and sold for scrap. They took the scrap from this locomotive down the Tapi River in a canoe. Recently it was discovered that there were in fact two locomotives around Petai and they were still visible in 1992. 

Recovered sleeper on death railway

A sleeper removed from the ground next to an embankment

Swampy part of the death railway

The railway where it runs through a swamp south of camp 7

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