Canadian Pacific Railway's 2013 fourth-quarter profits and revenue were up significantly from a year earlier, capping a year that has delivered dramatically higher financial results.

"The transformational pace of change at CP has definitely exceeded expectations," said Canadian Pacific chief executive Hunter Harrison, who was hired in mid-2012 to improve the company's performance.

"We entered 2013 with an aggressive agenda of change and financial targets that would put us squarely in the path of achieving our goal of once again becoming an industry leader," Harrison said in a statement.

"I am proud to report that we exceeded those targets and have re-established a sense of pride and accomplishment to this historic organization."

Net income doubles

The Calgary-based company reported Wednesday it had $82 million of net income, or 47 cents per share in the three months ended Dec. 31.

That was up from $15 million or eight cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2012, when the company had a number of unusual items.

For the full year, CP's net income nearly doubled to $875 million or $4.96 per diluted share from $484 million or $2.79 per share.

Excluding certain items, Canadian Pacific's adjusted earnings for the quarter were $338 million or $1.91 per share in the fourth quarter — a 49 per cent increase from $1.28 per share or $224 million a year earlier.

For the full year, Canadian Pacific's adjusted net income rose 50 per cent to $1.13 billion in 2013 from $753 million in 2012.

Record revenue in quarter

Canadian Pacific also reported its fourth quarter revenue hit a record $1.607 billion, up seven per cent from $1.502 billion in the last three months of 2012.

Its annual revenue rose to $6.133 billion from $5.69 billion.

The company's adjusted operating ratio, which measures how much of the revenue is used to run the company, improved to a CP record of 69.9 per cent.

On average, the analysts looked for $1.67 per share of net income or $1.93 per share in adjusted earnings and $1.62 billion of revenue, according to estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters.

However, RBC Dominion analyst Walter Spracklin said CP did better than his own estimate of $1.87 per share of adjusted earnings and the company's guidance for 2014 was within the consensus estimates.

"On cost control, the operating ratio came in at 65.9 per cent compared to our estimate of 68 per cent," Spracklin said.

The good results come at a time when the rail industry is facing increasing scrutiny for derailments, track maintenance and the safety of tanker cars used to transport crude oil. CN and CP both have been under fire for failing to transport Canadian grain to ports on time.