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) -- Train operator


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announced Tuesday night that its total volumes slipped 15% since last year, helping to send revenues down 23%. Still, the railroad concern topped third-quarter profit estimates, as CEO Michael Ward hinted that the company might have turned an economic corner.

"The third quarter reinforces our view that the worst of the recession is likely behind us," Ward said in a statement.

On Wednesday morning, investors were sending CSX shares shares higher by $2.25, or 5.1%, at $46.53.

According to a release after the closing bell on Tuesday, CSX said its net income slipped to $293 million, or 74 cents per share. According to a survey by Thomson Reuters, though, several analysts forecast the company to post 71-cent figure for the quarter. A year-earlier, the railroader's profit landed at $382 million, or 93 cents per share.

Still, with many focusing on top-line figures during this earnings season, CSX came up just short of estimates, posting revenues at $2.29 billion during the quarter. At the same time last year, revenue came to $2.96 billion, while analysts anticipated the concern to show a slightly larger $2.32 billion total.

Lower fuel charge recovery and slumping freight volumes, which were down across all segments, were the primary factors in the sliding revenue showing. Coal volumes were off by 18%, while automotive volumes were down 28%. And though the company noted that the pace of freight volume declines slowed in the third quarter compared to the immediately preceding quarter, it was hesitant to offer an "all-clear" signal for the future.

"At the same time, our coal business will be impacted by weak demand well into 2010," Ward added.

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Elsewhere, shares of

Norfolk Southern

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Burlington Northern Santa Fe

( BNI) and

Canadian National Railway

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were each tracking higher in Wednesday morning trading, adding 3%, 3% and 1.9%, respectively.

--Written by Sung Moss in New York

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