The work will modernise the tunnel infrastructure, improving safety, service capacity, reliability and security. Preparatory work is under way in Sunnyside Yard and major construction is due to start early next year. The project is scheduled for completion in late 2027.

The selected construction contractor will sequentially rehabilitate both tubes by demolishing the existing tunnel systems down to the concrete liner and reconstructing all the systems.

Interested contractors should monitor Amtrak’s Procurement Portal for further solicitation information and submittal requirements. The work will be performed under a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) as part of a 2021 Memorandum of Understanding between Amtrak and North America’s Building Trades Unions covering Amtrak’s major civil engineering projects.

The East River Tunnel carries Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Amtrak trains travelling to and from Penn Station to the north and east. It is part of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner said the project would renew the East River Tunnel for another century.

The project is eligible for federal funding via the FY 2022-2023 Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. An application for a full funding grant for the East River Tunnel Rehabilitation Project was submitted in March 2023 in response to the FSP-NEC Program Notice of Funding Opportunity. Amtrak issued this RFQ in anticipation of the Federal Railroad Administration funding decision expected this autumn. Previously, Amtrak applied for, and was awarded, a grant under the FY 2021 Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Program for the East River Tunnel Rehabilitation Enabling Components Project, which will ensure that traction power is maintained in each of the tunnel lines while rehabilitation is under way. Additional funding by the State of New York was announced in December 2021 by Senator Schumer, who facilitated an agreement in which the Metropolitan Transport Authority committed up to US$432m for the East River Tunnel project.

This is one of several major infrastructure projects that Amtrak’s newest department, Capital Delivery, is undertaking. Earlier this year, Amtrak launched the procurement for the replacement of the B&P Tunnel in Maryland and Connecticut River.