Norfolk Southern posted a 47 percent rise in its third-quarter profit on Wednesday, thanks in part to higher shipments of coal, as total volumes increased for the fifth straight quarter.
The Virginia-based railroad earned $445 million, or $1.19 a share, up from $303 million, or 82 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue grew 19 percent to $2.46 billion.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn $1.09 a share, on average.
"We continue to see an economy characterized by slow growth, but growth nonetheless," Chief Executive Wick Moorman said in a release.
For the quarter, revenue from shipments of coal rose the most, by 24 percent to $709 million. Revenue from general merchandise, including products such as cars and clothes, rose 16 percent.
Railway operating revenue rose 19 percent to $2.5 billion, mainly due to a 15 percent increase in traffic volume, while railway operating expenses grew 14 percent to $1.7 billion.
Norfolk Southern shares fell about 1.3 percent on Wednesday ahead of the earnings report. Get extended-hours quotes here.