Amtrak says the agreement will enable MTA to move ahead with the design and construction of enhancements relating the Penn Station Access project, which give passengers on the Metro North New Haven Line direct trains to the Bronx and the west side of Manhattan. Trains will branch off the New Haven Line at New Rochelle, travelling via the eastern Bronx, Queens, and Amtrak’s Hell’s Gate Line.

Metro North trains will then continue through the existing East River Tunnels, joining Long Island Rail Road Trains heading into the modernised Penn Station. The project includes the construction of four new stations in the eastern Bronx.

The project includes track, signalling and telecommunications upgrades to accommodate commuter rail services. MTA will fund all necessary infrastructure works and has agreed to share the future costs of operation, maintenance and recapitalisation of the line.

Amtrak and MTA will also begin planning for the “eventual operation” of direct Amtrak inter-city services from Penn to stations in Long Island. Amtrak says this will allow “through and connecting service” from Long Island to stations on the Northeast Corridor and beyond.