Moreover, overall consumption pattern improved across the nation as evidenced by a marked improvement in housing starts in the quarter. Housing pattern has a spillover effect on other sectors also because it drives growth for other goods such as furniture, appliances and petrochemical products. Primary metals, however, had a quiet quarter. Overall, we believe industrial freight, which contributes nearly 28% value to the company, will show tremendous revenue growth this quarter and help CSX gain market share. Agriculture and Coal Could Hurt Results in agricultural freight is likely to be affected adversely, particularly due to fall in grain carloads. Grain transportation is either for animal feed or for export and export demand declined significantly during the quarter. On the other hand, coal demand declined significantly due to low natural gas prices that led power producers to increasingly switch to gas fired plants from coal-fired. Coal carload reduced by 11.7% while grain carload declined by 13.2% during the quarter. We expect, these two divisions - agriculture and coal -- will hurt CSX the most in the second quarter. Long-Term Prospects Intact The U.S. GDP and freight rail traffic have traditionally demonstrated close correlation as 70% of the U.S. GDP is based on personal spending, which drives volumes of consumer goods. For the first quarter we saw U.S. GDP grow by only 1.9%, but performance for the rest of the year could pick up. For specific trends, the domestic coal demand is likely to increase gradually as gas prices increase and attractiveness of coal revives. Nevertheless, if domestic coal demand remains subdued, exports along the east coast will drive volumes. While CSX may have mixed earnings this quarter, the long-term prospects for the company are intact. In the long term, CSX will have to look beyond coal freight to drive growth. Presently, coal freight's contribution to CSX's value is nearly 30%, which is the maximum among all divisions. Click here to find out how a company's products has an impact on its stock price at Trefis. Like our charts? Embed them in your own posts using the Trefis Wordpress Plugin. This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.