Burlington Northern Santa Fe ( BNI) saw its profit fall in the first quarter, mostly due to a one-time charge, and revenue dropped 20%.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based company $293 million, or 86 cents per share, compared with $455 million or $1.30 per share a year ago. The earnings number includes 27 cents per share in one-time charges. Revenue dropped to $3.42 billion.

Shares closed Thursday at $67.85, up $1.42, or 2.1%.

Analysts asked by Thomson Reuters expected EPS of 96 on revenue of $3.68 billion. The 27 cents in charges included 19 cents related to an unfavorable coal rate case decision and 8 cents on unwinding interest rate hedges on debt no longer expected to be issued.

Freight revenue decreased $831 million, or 20%, to $3.31 billion compared with the first quarter of 2008, as loads handled decreased 14%. The decrease in freight revenue included a reduction in fuel surcharges of approximately $325 million and a $96 million charge related to the unfavorable coal rate case decision.

"During the first quarter of 2009, BNSF's focus on cost control and a variable cost structure enabled us to weather a difficult economic environment," said Matthew K. Rose, BNSF chairman, president and chief executive officer. "BNSF continues to manage through the recession and is well positioned to take advantage of the eventual economic recovery."

Union Pacific ( UNP), which also reported earnings Thursday, experienced a similar decline in freight revenue.

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