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UPDATE: This article, originally published at 5:40 p.m. EDT Friday, May 1, has been updated throughout with information from a regulatory filing.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Investors making their annual trip to Nebraska on Friday for Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A) - Get Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Class A Report  annual meeting had set the first-quarter performance bar high for CEO Warren Buffett, and he delivered.

Earnings of $2,583 a share, excluding some items, topped the average estimate of $2,330 from analysts in a survey by Thomson Reuters as sales in the railroad and insurance businesses improved. Net income climbed 9.8% to $5.16 billion, or $3,143 a share, from $4.7 billion, or $2,862, a year earlier, the Omaha, Nebraska-based company said in a statement. Revenue ticked up 4% to $50 billion.

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Earnings growth was led by the railroads, energy and utilities unit, where profit increased 25% to $1.5 billion. Burlington Northern, which Buffett acquired in 2010, saw earnings climb 44% to $1 billion as shipments of coal and agricultural products increased, according to a regulatory filing.

Overall, improvements to Burlington's equipment, expanded lines and new hiring helped drive gains in the quarter from a "substandard" performance in the first three months of 2014, Berkshire said in the filing.

Burlington, the second-largest U.S. freight railroad operator, boasts 51,500 miles of track in 28 states, with operations in three Canadian provinces. It had 48,000 employees at the end of 2014.

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Some analysts were concerned that margins would tighten at Burlington, as the company invested more on its rail lines, according to Meyer Shields, a managing director at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. That proved to be exactly what happened.

"Burlington acknowledged that they'd been under-investing, which is a fixable problem, but will require more spending," he said.

Still, the railroad's margins remained healthy, as operating expenses increased only 10% to $1.3 billion.

In Berkshire's insurance businesses, revenue climbed 5.7% to $35.9 billion, despite an increase in claims at auto-insurer GEICO as cheaper gas prices put more customers on the road and severe winter weather caused them to have accidents. The company's ratio of losses incurred to premiums earned, a measure of an insurance business's performance, widened 4.3 percentage points to 80.1%.

"Low gas prices means more miles driven, which translates into more accidents and claims," Shields said.

The 10% gain in premiums at GEICO to $5.9 billion was heavily eroded by a 17% increase in insurance payouts and related expenses, which widened to $4.3 billion, according to Berkshire's filing. Notwithstanding, GEICO's operating income increased by 10% to $5.4 billion.

"We experienced increases in claims frequencies and severities in several of our major coverages," Berkshire said in the filing. "As a result, we are implementing premium rate increases as needed.