NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP)NJ Transit on Wednesday unveiled its first locomotive that can operate on diesel fuel and electricity.

Spokesman Dan Stessel said the dual-mode engine is the first of its kind on any railroad in North America.

“We are excited to modernize the NJ TRANSIT fleet by bringing dual-powered technology to our state’s rail network,” said Executive Director James Weinstein.  “These new locomotives will have the benefit of being quieter, more fuel efficient and more environmentally-friendly than the locomotives they’ll replace, some of which are 40 years old.”

The locomotive is one of 26 purchased by a $310 million order in 2008 that was made with the now-defunct Hudson River commuter rail tunnel in mind.

The engines would have allowed trains on the Pascack Valley Line in Bergen County to go directly through the tunnel without switching to an electric locomotive as they do now.

Gov. Chris Christie cancelled the project in October.

Sixty percent of NJ Transit’s tracks are not electrified.

Stessel said dual-mode engines using a combination track can switch to electric and save on diesel fuel.

Do you think this will help NJ Transit train service? Leave a comment below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)