Training at Camp Clairborne

Training at Camp Clairborne -thanks Mark Metz

 From August 1941 and July 1942 the 711th Railway Operating Battalion with help from the 91st and 93rd Engineer Battalions, constructed a 47.66 mile railroad in Louisiana between the Missouri Pacific Railroad which served Camp Claiborne, LA and the Kansas City Southern Railway that served Camp Polk, LA. Known as the Claiborne – Polk Military Railway (C&P) it became the primary Army owned and operated facility for “technical” training of Military Railway Service (MRS) units. Informally known as the Crime and Punishment, the line afforded the Army total flexibility for tactical training in basic railroad operations.

 Ultimately, a total of six Railway Operating Battalions (ROB) and the two Railway Shop Battalions (RSB) would conduct"technical" training on the C&P. Units conducting "technical" training on the C&P included the 711th ROB (Training Battalion), 712th ROB (RDG & CNJ), 714th ROB (Omaha Road)( both "basic & technical), 718th ROB (NYC), 725th ROB (C,RI,&P)(both "basic &"technical"?), and the 752nd ROB (B&M). Also, training, both "basic & technical", on the
C&P were the 760th RSB ( ? ) & 762 RSB (Alco), the MRS’ two diesel shop battalions. Five additional battalions, the 715th ROB (IC), 719th ROB (T&NO), 759th ROB (MP)*, 754th RSB (SP)**, and 755th RSB (N&W) were activated and conducted basic training at Camp Claiborne but transferred to commercial training facilities for technical training.


 711th ROB Arrived August 10, 1041 to help build and operate the C&P C&P completed and "golden spike" driven July 10, 1942 (July 11per 711th). Deployed for Iran October 21, 1942

 759th ROB Assigned September 1, 1942 Assumed operation of C&P October 21, 1942 Reassigned Camp Jesse Turner, AR, December 10, 1942*

 714th ROB Assigned October 31, 1942 Deployed to Alaska RR March 15, 1943

 725th ROB Assigned March 24, 1943 to November 29, 1943

 712th ROB Assigned December 1, 1943 to March 1944

 718th ROB Assigned February 22, 1944 to June 24, 1944

 752nd ROB Assigned July 4. 1944 to December 16. 1944

 770th ROB Assigned November 28, 1944 to August 7, 1945

 714th ROB Assigned May 26, 1945 to January 4, 1946

 760th RSB Assigned June 15, 1942 to September 29, 1942

 762nd RSB Assigned October 15, 1942 to December 31, 1942

 * The 759th "technical" training was split between Camp Claiborne and Camp Jesse Turner, AR.

 Today Camp Claiborne is a forest of mature trees interlaced with decaying roads and building foundations. While a short segment of the C&P continues in service at Fort Polk, the balance of the right of way is trackless but with use of topographic map and back roads can be located at many locations. Still inscribed in the Camp Claiborne enginehouse foundation are the initials C, RI, & P RR from the 725th ROB. Otherwise with the exception of a plaque by the still existing main gate, little marks the existence of this once thriving military base and even less of the C&P training railroad.