The MRS (Manufacturer’s Railway Service) 36’ wood body, insulated, ventilated box car from an All Nation kit

The missing sixth car of the “TAKING A LOOK AT OLD KITS” article in O Scale Trains issue #69 of July/August 2013. In editing the article, the part about this car was dropped, perhaps due to space. Here is what I had written about it, as well as a photo of the model. Edward F. Bommer

All Nation kits were a bit more sophisticated than Walthers. They offered pre-painted and pre-lettered wood or metal sides and ends which one fitted to a wood car body with added detail parts. One such 1951 kit was this colorful Ralston Purina insulated, ventilator box car for the Manufacturers’ Railway Service. This St. Louis based road was owned by the Anheuser Bush Corporation. These cars were often mistaken by modelers for refrigerators because of the roof hatches that were used as ventilators.

AN kit 3580 with its colorful ‘Purina’ siding may seem at first to be out of place for modeling the 1950s. However, there is a photo of a checker board MRS car (with truss rods!) painted like this model, in the April 1952 issue of TRAINS magazine on page 39. It’s the first car in a train drawn by a Virginian box cab electric rolling onto a steel trestle at Covel WV.

While the prototype’s vent hatches had been removed and new roof corner platforms applied to make it into a non-vented insulated box car, the side sill truss rods betrayed its advanced age. But it’s still at work with its AAR classed ‘steel re-enforced underframe.’

The plastic running board (roof walk) from the kit was replaced with one built-up in wood. It was detailed with bolt head holes and butt-joint ends like prototype wood running boards. I’m uncertain at this point whether to remove the hatches and re-detail the roof with corner platforms.

Or, fit the hatches with Bohn ventilator hoods. They were foot-tall metal hoods with an adjustable end flap that fitted over the hatches. MRS used them from the mid 1930s through WW II. Side still truss rods were added to the model, along with a detailed brake system using the kit’s plastic three piece AB brake set.

The prototype photo dates from the 1950s when AB brakes were required for interchange. The brake rigging was modeled as described for the Walthers ACL box car in the published article. A tagged, not published photo of the AB brake system is below. The original All Nation Andrews type trucks are still on this car. A bit of lube helps keep them rolling freely.

ventilated boxcar 01 ventilated boxcar 02
Edward F. Bommer July, 2013