Canadian National is a big player in the trend to move oil by rail. they will be running unit trains to the East Coast and Gulf Coast. Since Canadian sands oil is heavier and less flammable, safety will not be as big an issue. Two of my students wrote an interesting research paper on the impact of lower energy prices on logistics. One of them was in the oil industry. They concluded that more oil would be moving by rail and congestion and shortages of rail service for other products would be the result. Looks like that is playing out, despite the low prices for oil
Canadian National plans to move more heavy barrels from Western Canada – Oil | Platts News Article & Story.