Scale is seen as white crusty stains caused by impurities in the water exhausted out of vents, piping and leaks, much like impurities spat from a laundry iron. It is most commonly seen around the whistle, blow-off cocks, check valves, and injectors.
Appearing similar to scale stains was sand. Sand was carried in a dome atop the boiler (steamers of Great Britain usually eschewed this unaesthetic lump, holding sand in boxes along the running boards). It was utilized for traction, applied onto the railhead next to the drivers via compressed air through tubes. The hairsbreadth of contact between the steel wheel and steel rail holding tons of engine weight pulverized the sand into powder. Depending on numerous environmental factors, the affect varied from blowing away to completely covering the running gear, underside of the locomotive, and tender. Photographs show locomotives side by side, one with a slight haze of sand, another with drivers 'whitewalled' with sand, and the other appearing to have white painting running gear! Presumably the color of the sand dust would be the same as the sand in the region the locomotives ran, not always a whitish color.
The Appearance of the Locomotive......would depend upon the era. Many railroads kept their motive power wiped and shined until the last, while some were so neglected that filth completely obscured the engine number and company name. Yet, even well kept engines would eventually sport streaks and runs; the usual black paint of steam locos often showed streaks with a slight rainbow quality.
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