The following video is part of our "Motley Fool Conversations" series, in which industrials editor/analyst Brendan Byrnes and technology editor/analyst Andrew Tonner discuss topics across the investing world.

In today's edition, Brendan takes a look at earnings from a few major railroads. Since railroads are so tied to our overall economy, it's important to keep tabs on them even if you're not a railroad investor (and especially if you are). How did the major railroads perform last quarter, and what can we expect from them in 2012?

Andrew Tonner and Brendan Byrnes have no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Berkshire Hathaway. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.