So what is a poor soul to buy? The railcar producers, the trucking transport compnay's, or the railroad transporting under long term contracts?
Rail car producers, and truck tank cars are at a constant backlog feeding this need, and the stocks are up. One starts to see how all this wealth is created, and how it spreads across many aspects to bring the product to market. Many sideline opportunity's exist from the oil/gas/coal energy sectors. Sticking with the pipelines, and refiner's on the heavy side of allocation of my money for the time being.
Believe your thinking is right. This situation happened back in the 1800 hundreds when rail dominated; then came the pipeliners. IMO this will happen again. We see evidence now, for example MWE will have not only rail, but Marier East to Phily area. MWE currently is tied into EPD TEPPCO in addition to rail. We know MWE will run a new NGL line to Liberty from Cadiz.
Next on the crude side we have TRP Mainline Conversion Project which consists of converting an underutilized natural gas pipeline to carry Bakken and oil sands crude to Eastern refineries. Pipeliners are also becoming creative in moving natural gasoline as a diluent to Canada. Ones that come to mind are Kinder Morgan and Plains All American. I would not be surprise that SXL or Buckeye (both nearly use the same ROW) announce an West to East crude option, or perhaps in support of TRP or KMP. SE just pick up a crude line from Kinder Morgan to address the same issue. On the ethane side, pipelines do and will dominate. Rail is a nice option to have as one, such as MWE, can shop for customers anywhere and ship by rail. Rail is also a good option should a pipeline system go down for an extended period. On the side of risk of upset, I would suggest the risk of upset is much greater for rail as compared to pipeline. On the other hand pipelines do have spills and fires that can be devastating. I have a long-term rail stock, but not because of it shipping crude alone. What would be interesting is a rail purchasing a pipeline asset, however due to the debt load most rails find themselves into today, I find that potential very unlikely. If one wanted to diversify in the transportation sector, as I do, I like both rails and pipelines.