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Rail News: CSX Transportation

CSX posts promising 4Q earnings, operating ratio

For the fourth-straight quarter, CSX Corp. has boosted earnings. Today, the company reported fourth-quarter net earnings from continuing operations of $159 million, a 42 percent increase compared with fourth-quarter 2003.

CSX's quarterly surface transportation revenue — earned by the company's rail and intermodal operations — rose 8 percent to $2.2 billion and surface transportation operating income increased 32 percent to $315 million. CSX Transportation's quarterly operating ratio improved 1.8 points to 85, however quarterly operating expenses rose 6 percent to $1.7 billion compared with fourth-quarter 2003.

"CSX's earnings were driven by the continued strength in the economy and by improving operations," said CSX Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and CSXT President Michael Ward in a prepared statement. "In the fourth quarter, the rail network showed signs of improving fluidity as the company worked to fine-tune the new operating plan that was put in place during the third quarter."

For full-year 2004, CSX increased surface transportation revenue and operating income 6.5 percent to $7.9 billion and 11.5 percent to $1 billion, respectively, compared with 2003. CSXT's operating ratio improved 1.3 points to 86.6, but operating expenses rose about 5 percent to $6.8 billion.

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