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Citizen complaint of the day: Tar dripping off the Fairmount Line bridge over East Cottage Street

A disgusted citizen files a 311 complaint about the new black splotches on his or her car after driving under the train bridge over East Cottage Street in Dorchester:

There is tar dripping from the bridge. It dropped on my car and ruined the hood and roof.



Creosote from the ties so they hold up.

Creosote and not tar.

May get that stuff off.

Made for that. I doubt that the hood and roof are "ruined." Probably the paint isn't, either.


Bug and tar remover will.

WD40 + a straight razor has always worked much better for me than googone or bug and tar remover

Creosote is a possibility but not usually applied in such amounts to railroad ties that it can be seen as a dripping item. Tar, as in tar used for roofing or pavement, is less likely.

What it may be is heavy grease or similar lubricating oils that dripped from the trains and collected in a manner allowing it to drip. Diesel engines such as those used for locomotives also have a byproduct that resembles tar from incomplete combustion of fuel. If the collection device for this waste product was leaking or defective, that byproduct could also have dripped on the bridge ties and eventually make its way to the roadway below.

Looking at the pic, it definitely looks like a locomotive with a very leaky engine was idling over the bridge. You can easily see the oil drip marks on one of the support beams