The higher ups at CSX Corporation (NYSE:CSX) are feeling pretty good about themselves and the way their Jacksonville, Fla.-based rail-based transporter and intermodal transport services provider has weathered falling demand for coal shipments as well as the Great Recession, gradually raising their dividends payouts and seeing a nearly 14 percent gain in the company’s stock since June 2008.

"We have sustained strong financial performance through challenging business conditions over the past five years, with consistent improvements in operating income, earnings per share and operating ratio," CSX Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Fredrik Eliasson told analysts attending the Deutsche Bank Global Industrials and Basic Materials Conference in Chicago on Wednesday.

Thanks to a downturn in the business of transporting coal, which has been battered as the natural gas industry takes flight, CSX expects earnings per share to be flat or slightly down from 2012 levels. But the rail industry is seeing some tailwind help from the increase in the use of rail for the transport of non-commodity goods, like retail merchandise.

CSX recently provided guidance for 2014, saying it expects EPS growth of 10 to 15 percent per year in the near term. CSX is scheduled to issue its second quarter earnings report on July 15. A poll of Thomson Reuters analysts see earnings per share of 47 cents on net income of $474 million and $3 billion in revenue.