I came across a few pictures that a worth sharing. You may find them of interest.
Here is a view of a Northern Pacific tender deck. It appears that the deck is knee deep in coal dust. There are even a few weeds that have taken root in the debris. It would be a striking addition to your coal burner. The locomotive and tender are in the scrap line awaiting the torch. The head end brakeman must not been too interested in doing housekeeping.
Most modelers including me tend to not put much effort into a tender. One modeler who has not forgotten this area is Jimmy Booth. He has applied coal to a number of the Foreground Models offered by P-B-L. The model shown below is a Sn3 K-36 that features custom weathering by Jimmy as part of the Foreground package. The coal is from Chama, NM and is fixed with a clear lacquer.
Coal and clinkers shower the locomotive and train. Some stick to surfaces like the tender deck and to surfaces like the roof of brakeman’s shed.
If you operate oil burners, you have possibilities for weathering with the combination of dust, grime and spilled oil on the deck. The oil is called Bunker C and is tar-like unless heated. Spilled on a oil tank, the stuff hardening in the cooler weather and sticks to your shoes in the summer.
I would be interested in learning how you might create the hardened puddles of Bunker C.
I would like to thank Jimmy Booth for his model photos and the NPRHA for the Wade Stevenson photo of the coal tender.