CSX generated net earnings of $US 3.33bn, or $US 4.17 per share in 2019 compared with $US 3.31bn, or $US 3.84 per share in 2018, an increase of 1% and 9% respectively. CSX’s 2019 operating ratio of 58.4% represents a new Class 1 record, improving upon last year’s record result of 60.3%.

CSX announced fourth quarter 2019 net earnings of $US 771m, or $US 0.99 per share compared with $US 843m, or $US 1.01 per share in the same period last year. CSX’s operating ratio set a company fourth-quarter record of 60%, compared with 60.3% in 2018.

Revenue for the fourth quarter fell by 8% compared with 2018 to $US 2.89bn due to lower volumes and a “negative mix from coal market headwinds.” Expenses decreased 9% year-on-year to $US 1.73bn, driven by continued efficiency gains and volume-related savings. Operating income was down 8% to $US 1.15bn compared with the same period last year.

“The railroad has never run better and we are delivering great service to our customers,” said James M. Foote, CSX president and CEO. “What is really amazing is how our employees stepped up to produce efficiencies during tough economic conditions.”

Kansas City Southern (KCS) also revealed its 2019 and fourth quarter financial results on January 17, with the railway’s own version of precision scheduled railroading (PSR) helping it to report a solid set of figures.

KCS’s 2019 revenues totalled $US 2.9bn, an increase of 6% on a 1% decline in loadings. Operating income was $US 886.3m, and the reported operating ratio was 69.1%. Full year 2019 net income was $US 540.8m, or $5.40 per diluted share.

During 2019, KCS “significantly improved” its operating performance, as demonstrated by an increase in gross velocity of 22%, a decline in terminal dwell of 16%, and an improvement in car-miles per day of 19% compared with 2018. PSR initiatives also contributed directly to operating expense savings of $US 58m in 2019, and are projected to deliver incremental savings of $US 61m in 2020.

“Year one of KCS’s PSR implementation has exceeded our own expectations for service, operational and financial improvement,” says KCS president and CEO, Mr Patrick Ottensmeyer. “As we turn our focus to 2020, we look forward to growing our business while implementing our second year of PSR initiatives.

“These strong results have allowed us to improve guidance, and we now expect to deliver a 60% to 61% operating ratio in 2020, and below 60% in 2021. Additionally, we have improved our outlook for earnings per share growth to a mid-teens compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2019 through 2021. Finally, with improved asset utilisation, we have reduced our outlook for capital expenditures to around 17% of revenue through 2022.”

Fourth-quarter revenues were $US 729.5m, an increase of 5% primarily led by a 13% increase in Chemicals and Petroleum and an 11% increase in industrial and consumer products compared with the fourth quarter of 2018. Loadings were down 1%, as declines in automotive and intermodal offset growth in all other business units.

Fourth-quarter operating expenses were $US 493.5m, including $US 38.3m of restructuring charges relating to PSR initiatives. Operating income was $US 236m, and the reported operating ratio was 67.6%. Fourth-quarter net income was $US 127.9m, or $US 1.30 per diluted share.