Overview: The East River Tunnels form the connection between New York Penn Station, Long Island, and the northern half of the NEC. The tunnels are comprised of four single-track tubes between Manhattan and Queens, and are shared by scheduled Amtrak and LIRR passenger services, as well as empty Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT trains heading to and from Sunnyside Yard in Queens. Constructed in 1910, the tunnels carry over 600 daily trains, making the tunnels and the route to Sunnyside Yard the busiest stretch along the entire NEC.
Amtrak and LIRR are currently engaged in modernizing the East River Tunnels. Investments are needed to reline the drainage system and replace the track structure, which currently require extensive ongoing maintenance. Additional investments would replace its aging signal system, which is prone to failure and delays, with a modern high-density signal system that is capable of allowing higher-frequency service. The new system would increase capacity, reduce delays, and improve safety by supporting the implementation of positive train control technology.