Because of a 14 mile gap between Sacramento and the firstBecause of a 14 mile gap between Sacramento and the first substation to the north, by 1918, the SN had been experiencing significant low voltage problems with its 3rd rail voltage in the area when train traffic was heavy. So it contracted with GE fora portable substation to alleviate the situation. Housed in a boxcar, the substation was set up 6 miles north of Sacramento on a spur at a station named Del Paso, which was conveniently near the middle of the problem area.
It used an undervoltage relay and timer to sort out powerIt used an undervoltage relay and timer to sort out power demand from transient voltage fluctuations. Whenever the 3rd rail voltage dropped below the relay's setting, this started a time switch. If the undervoltage condition exceeded the timer's setting, this indicated a train was approaching, and the timer's switch would close to operate a motor-operated sequencing drum type controller which started the rotary converter, polarized its output to the correct polarity, and then put the substation on line.
Once 3rd rail power demand had slacked off after the train hadOnce 3rd rail power demand had slacked off after the train had left the area, an over voltage relay tripped another timer which ran down to filter out overvoltage transients and initiate a shutdown process, using the same motor-operated drum controller.
Eventually the SN constructed a permanent automatic substationEventually the SN constructed a permanent automatic substation at Del Paso.
Substation #01 has been set up for use at Rio Vista Junction onSubstation #01 has been set up for use at Rio Vista Junction on an isolated section of track. Other than removing the synchronous converter's armature once for servicing by GE, it has been serving faithfully ever since.
1920: assembled by SN for use at Del Paso.
1920-19??: used at Del Paso.
19??: replaced by permanent substation and building
1947: use of 3rd rail on the former Northern Electric discontinued.
1951: #01 moved to the WP's Jeffery Shops in Sacramento to1951: #01 moved to the WP's Jeffery Shops in Sacramento to power test track when testing the locomotives still being used in Yuba City and Marysville.
1965: #01 donated to Bay Area Electric Railroad Association.
1965/66: carbody unloaded from a flat car, trucks from a gondola1965/66: carbody unloaded from a flat car, trucks from a gondola at Rio Vista Junction, and re-assembled.
1967: isolated section of track constructed; #01 was placed in1967: isolated section of track constructed; #01 was placed in present location and set up for use.
Latter 1990s: building erected to protect the car's wood structureLatter 1990s: building erected to protect the car's wood structure from the weather.