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Canada sees ninefold jump in crude exported by rail over past two years

Rail cars sit at a Canadian National Railway yard in Hamilton. Shipping crude across North America in railway cars is a booming business for North America’s railways.

ANDREW WALLACE/REUTERS

There has been a ninefold increase in Canada's oil-by-rail exports over the past two years.

Data released by the National Energy Board says 15,980 barrels a day of crude were exported by rail in the first quarter of 2012.

By the fourth quarter of 2013 — October to December of last year — that had increased to 146,047 barrels a day.

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Moving crude by rail has been on the rise, as production increases in the Alberta oil sands and oil pipeline proposals like Keystone XL and the Northern Gateway remain mired in opposition.

Alarms bells sounded after a crude-carrying train derailed and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Que., killing 47 people.

The federal government vowed after the deadly crash to address safety issues and phase out older tank cars being used to transport oil.

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