The following video is part of our "Motley Fool Conversations" series, in which consumer goods editor and analyst Austin Smith and software developer Chris Bledsoe discuss topics across the investing world.

In today's edition, Chris and Austin discuss the macro trend of sharply lower coal shipments in the railroad industry. Austin sees two main causes. First, we are coming off an unseasonably warm winter which reduces coal demand. Second, natural gas, an alternative to coal, continues to be incredibly cheap, which has depressed the demand for coal. Because coal makes up a large percentage of railroad companies' volumes, this has negative bottom line implications. Austin shares his thoughts in the video below.

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Austin Smith has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Chris Bledsoe has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Genesee & Wyoming. 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.