East River Tunnel Rehabilitation Project

The tunnel is part of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC), which provides train service between Boston and Washington, DC, and is the busiest passenger rail line in the United States.

The East River Tunnel (ERT) consists of four tubes connecting New York City to destinations east, and is used by Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), and NJ TRANSIT trains.

The tubes, which opened in 1910, require significant upgrades and comprehensive rehabilitation to modernize critical NEC infrastructure and improve reliability for a new era of rail.

The ERT Rehabilitation Project will restore the two tubes that were damaged by Superstorm Sandy. The work will modernize the tunnel infrastructure, improving safety, reliability, and security and bring the systems to a state of good repair. The project will involve demolishing the existing tunnel systems down to the concrete liners, followed by reconstructing and modernizing all tunnel systems. These include:

  • Repair of the tunnel liner;
  • Reconstruction of the bench walls in a modern, high-low configuration with new cable conduits;
  • Conversion from ballasted track to a modern, direct fixation track system;
  • Installation of new fire and smoke detection systems; and
  • Replacement of signals, traction power, standpipe, and drainage systems.

In addition to the underground locations, work also will be performed at aboveground areas in Queens. This includes upgrading the tunnel approaches and installing new signal houses and signal and traction power cables. Additional work will be performed at two ventilation facilities in Manhattan and Queens.

The ERT Rehabilitation Project is partially funded by the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). This includes funding received through the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Program. The FRA has identified the ERT Rehabilitation Project as a “Major Backlog Project” on the NEC, which makes it eligible for additional federal funding to support final design and construction through the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program.

Additional funding from the State of New York was announced in December 2021 by Senator Chuck Schumer, who facilitated an agreement in which MTA committed up to $432 million for the ERT Rehabilitation Project.


Service Impacts

During construction, Amtrak plans to maintain the majority of train service through the remaining tunnels by closing one tube at a time. Additional projects completed ahead of the major tunnel work will help mitigate potential service impacts.

Amtrak and its railroad partners will provide advance notice to customers regarding any service changes as construction approaches.

Public Documents

Project Status


Anticipated Timing

  • Line 2 Construction Period: Summer 2024 through Summer 2025
  • Line 1 Construction Period: Fall 2025 through Winter 2027

Scope and Benefits

  • Rehabilitation to bring the ERT to a state of good repair and extend its useful life for another 100 years
  • Installation of new track, electrical, safety, and signals systems to add resiliency and improve reliability for NEC services
  • Compliance with modern safety and egress standards
  • Jobs and economic opportunities for local residents
  • Continued service for 453 trains per day, including 42 Amtrak intercity trains and 411 LIRR commuter trains