The Greenbrier Companies


Following the tragic loss of life and property in the 2013 crude-by-rail disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, The Greenbrier Companies, a leading supplier of transportation equipment and services to the railroad industry based in Lake Oswego, Oregon, sought to drive change. The Greenbrier Companies entrusted Summit Strategies as their strategic partner to work with Congress and the Administration to enhance tank car standards to prevent similar disasters in the future.

Summit Solution

Our mission was to work with Congress and the Administration (United States Department of Transportation (DOT)/Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)/Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) to secure federal legislation and regulations to ensure the safe transportation of flammable liquids by rail. Opposition from the petroleum industry, the rail car manufacturing industry, and others made this effort particularly challenging, but our team, with The Greenbrier Companies, was committed to advancing the toughest rail tank car manufacturing and retrofitting requirements possible.

Summit’s coordinated lobbying effort involved:

  • Coalition Building

  • Congressional fly-ins

  • Regular meetings with officials from FRA and PHMSA, and with then-Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.

Summit’s efforts resulted in the inclusion of language in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act requiring USDOT to issue a new rule on the transportation of flammable liquids by rail.


On May 1, 2015, Transportation Secretary Foxx announced a new final rule for the safe transportation of flammable liquids by rail. The rule, developed by PHMSA and FRA, in coordination with Canadian officials, focuses on safety improvements that are designed to prevent disasters like the one in Lac-Mégantic and mitigate consequences if such an event were to occur. The rule also supports development of companies’ “tank car of the future” efforts, regulates train speed, and better clarifies flammable liquid classifications.

Summit Strategies has represented The Greenbrier Companies for over two decades, assisting the client with a wide range of issues involving transportation, taxation, trade, and economic development.