That advantage might be temporary as more pipeline infrastructure is built, but for now CN, BNSF, and other rail companies are ramping up efforts to capitalize on the inexorable force that is becoming the North American oil and gas markets.
"We have a lot of irons in the fire," Cairns says. "We're trying to create a rail solution to bring product down to the U.S. Gulf Coast. It's an ongoing effort."
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Meg Handley is a reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @mmhandley.