An article in the Business and Finance section yesterday stated incorrectly that coal was being exported to Poland and Austrailia. Coal strikes in those nations did cause increased demand for U.S. coal, but from other countries.

Coal exported from Virginia to Australia and Poland helped produce higher profits for Norfolk & Western Railway in the third quarter and first nine months of 1980, although the large coal-hauling line continued to suffer declines in other business sectors because of the recession.

Government Services Savings & Loan, meanwhile, has reported continued losses during the July to September quarter, reflecting the intense pressures on thrift institution profitability in recent months.

Roanoke-based N&W yesterday posted record third-quarter profits of $43.6 million ($1.38 a share), up 9 percent from the previous high of $39.9 million ($1.28) a year ago, as revenues edged 3 percent higher to $376 million.

Nine-month earnings of N&W were up 7 percent to a record $151 million ($4.81) from $141 million ($4.53) a year earlier, while revenues climbed 8 percent to $1.15 billion.

Chairman John Fishwick told analysts yesterday that the strength of coal traffic helped offset the adverse impact of recession on other freight shipments. Coal revenues in the recent quarter shot up 22 percent from last year while general merchandise traffic levels declined 10 percent. A reduction of coal exports by Poland coupled with coal strikes in Australia helped boost coal shipments to those countries and boosted N&W export coal traffic by 41 percent.

All other commodity groups produced lower freight revenues for N&W in the recent quarter, but Fishwick noted that the sluggish business also helped the railroad keep operating expenses just 4 percent higher than a year ago.

At Government Services S&L, a net loss of $474,170 was listed for the second fiscal quarter ended Sept. 30 by the Bethesda-based firm, although savings deposits remained strong, at $296 million compared with $270 million a year earlier.

Many other area S&Ls are suffering losses, but most are not stockholder-owned firms as is Government Servicesand most do not publish periodical earnings statements.

President Alexander Boyle said the recent upturn of interest rates "will adversely affect the earnings performance of the thrift industry in general and lessen the company's prospects for a return to profitability in the near term." l

The second-quarter loss contrasts with earnings in the comparable 1979 period of $299,826 (35 cents a share). Moreover, the recent quarter followed a steep loss in the prior three months and brought six-month losses to $1.15 million versus earnings of $595,565 (70 cents) a year earlier.

Boyle noted that the second-quarter loss was far less than in the first quarter, because of a sharp decline in interest rates during the spring and early summer, a trend subsequently reversed. Government Services opened its eighth office earlier this month at Prince George's Plaza in Hyattsville.

Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. said earnings in the first nine months of 1980 were modestly higher at $96.7 million compared with $94 million a year earlier, with per-share earnings unchanged at $3.01 because more shares are outstanding. Revenues rose to $923 million from $771 million.