Canadian National Railway (NYSE: CNI) reported earnings on April 23. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended March 31 (Q1), Canadian National Railway beat expectations on revenues and earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue grew and GAAP earnings per share expanded significantly.

Margins improved across the board.

Revenue details
Canadian National Railway tallied revenue of $2.35 billion. The 16 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ wanted to see a top line of $2.27 billion on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 9.6% higher than the prior-year quarter's $2.15 billion.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
Non-GAAP EPS came in at $1.18. The 12 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ averaged $1.04 per share on the same basis. GAAP EPS of $1.75 for Q1 were 17% higher than the prior-year quarter's $1.49 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 46.9%, 150 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 33.8%, 280 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 33.0%, 90 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $2.46 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $1.42.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $9.79 billion. The average EPS estimate is $5.36.

Investor sentiment
Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Canadian National Railway is hold, with an average price target of $83.99.

Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. 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.