Alcoa (AA) - Get Report unofficially kicked off earnings season when it reported subpar results on Tuesday. But TheStreet's Jim Cramer, the co-manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, is now looking at CSX Corp. (CSX) - Get Report , which reports on Thursday before the open.

Speaking from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Cramer pointed out that Norfolk Southern (NSC) - Get Report was upgraded to buy from neutral at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch. The analysts argued that Norfolk is increasing efficiency, which should drive profits higher.

However, Cramer simplified the thesis behind the rail stocks. Railroad companies are tied to commodities shipping, a large portion of which still comes from coal for certain companies, including CSX.

The decline in coal has created a lot of problems for CSX. However, Cramer reasoned that coal inventories may have bottomed for the time being. If coal has hit a bottom, that will be a positive for railroad companies and their stocks.

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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in AA.