I am long with both CSX and NSC. I'll say that, over the last 2 years I've been very disappointed in the stock price performance of both CSX and NSC, they've been hurt badly by the demise of coal shipments. And I'll admit that UNP is the king of the railroads right now. A lot of traffic and goods from overseas comes into and leaves the Western seaboard, and UNP has a monopoly.
That being said, CSX and NSC may experience turn arounds with the widening of the Panama Canal that is to be completed by 2014. The improved canal will allow for cargo ships 3 times larger than those currently traversing the canal. These larger ships will enable them to economically load and unload their cargo on East Coast facilities. And both CSX and NSC are preparing terminals for the new traffic. CSX and NSC should both experience an increase in both imports/exports from the wider canal. Hopefully, this increase in traffic will ramp up quickly in 2014-2015 and benefit the PPS for CSX and NSC.
I have just learned that the opening of the 'expanded' Panama Canal has experienced delays and is now scheduled to open in April of 2015, more than two years from now. This might provide an excellent time period, window, for accumulating NSC or CSX while theirs PPSs are at two year lows.
Possibly an excellent investment opp for retirement or children's education. Again, the old axiom, "Buy Low", but don't put all your eggs in one basket.