After January 1, 1983, Conrail shall be relieved of the responsibility to provide crews for intercity passenger service on the Northeast Corridor. Amtrak, Amtrak Commuter, and Conrail, and the employees with seniority in both freight and passenger service shall commence negotiations not later than 120 days after August 13, 1981, for the right of such employees to move from one service to the other once each six-month period. Such agreement shall ensure that Conrail, Amtrak, and Amtrak Commuter have the right to furlough one employee in the same class or craft for each employee who returns through the exercise of seniority rights. If agreement is not reached within 360 days, such matter shall be submitted to binding arbitration.
Conrail employees who are deprived of employment by an assumption or discontinuance of intercity passenger service by Amtrak shall be eligible for employee protection benefits under section 797  of this title, notwithstanding any other provision of law, agreement, or arrangement, and notwithstanding the inability of such employees otherwise to meet the eligibility requirements of such section. Such protection shall be the exclusive protection applicable to Conrail employees deprived of employment or adversely affected by any such assumption or discontinuance.