CSX Corp., parent company of the Chessie Systems Railroad, yesterday reported a net loss of $440 million ($2.92 a share) for the fourth quarter compared with earnings of $43 million (28 cents) for the same period a year ago.

The Richmond-based company also reported a loss of $118 million (78 cents) for the year compared with a profit of $414 million ($2.80) for 1984.

The company attributed the losses to a $954 million pre-tax special charge and an accounting change for oil and gas exploration activities that affected the earnings report by $65 million. CSX's 1984 restated results also reflect the accounting change.

Excluding the special charge and accounting charge, CSX said it would have earned $479 million ($3.17) for the year. Fourth-quarter earnings before the two charges were $147 million (96 cents).

Revenue for the year dropped 8 percent to $7.3 billion from $7.9 billion during 1984. Revenue for the fourth quarter dropped 4 percent to $1.78 billion from $1.86 billion during the same period a year ago.

CSX said that a "generally lackluster performance of the economy" last year and a softening of coal traffic from its high levels of 1984, when domestic utilities were building stockpiles in anticipation of a coal miners' strike, resulted in a 5 percent -- or $276 million -- drop in transportation revenue last year from 1984 levels.

CSX is a holding company with interests in railroads, barge lines, trucking and minerals, oil and gas exploration, natural gas transmission, realty and resort properties. It controls 26,000 miles of railroad in 21 states, making it the nation's second-largest railroad operator.