Grad Student Brings Innovation to Metro-North Railroad

From left are interns Scott Silverman, Nikita Ramsaran, Christian Higgins, Jenna Patterson, Clayton Brancato, Metro-North President Howard Permut, interns Eli Eisenstadt, Caitlin Timoney, George Mateo and Patrick Shirley.

News Story: October 10, 2013

Sacred Heart University graduate student, Caitlin Timoney, a native of Philadelphia and a student in SHU’s master’s of environmental science and management program, was a winner recently in a competition among interns in Metro-North Railroad’s Environmental Service and Compliance Department. Her team were the winners in a contest looking for innovative ideas to improve customer service and save money.

Timoney’s group of nine interns took the prize with their “EnergyMiser” concept. EnergyMisers, which cost $200 apiece, can be attached to each of the 179 vending machines at Metro-North stations and will put the machines into sleep mode when not in use. The EnergyMisers not only would save the company energy and money, but would improve the machine’s life cycle and lessen required maintenance.

“All of the interns were from different departments, so we all had a lot of different skills to bring to the table. It was great to learn to work in a team on a real-world project like this one,” said Timoney. “We started preparing in mid-June and made our final presentation to the president of the railroad and other Metro-North executives at the end of July.”

The EnergyMisers will provide the greatest savings at those stations with lower foot traffic. With an estimated savings of up to $600 per machine per year, the start-up costs would be recouped in little more than a year, so that Metro-North could count on a savings of more than $66,000 over 10 years.

“It really felt amazing to win and see all of our hard work pay off. I hope everyone keeps an eye out for our EnergyMisers on the vending machines at Metro-North stations,” Timoney said.

Recently as another exciting part of her internship, Timoney had a chance to visit the Mount Vernon East station and inspect the situation that has been causing all the train delays over the past few weeks. “I learned a lot by speaking with reps from Con-Edison about the process when something like this happens. It was exciting to be part of a story that is in the daily news, to see how the experts are handling it and to learn from it,” she said.