The Klien-Lindner Axle Articulation System.

Updated: 19 May 2004
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The Klien-Lindner Axle Articulation System was a method for getting driving power to axles that had swivel to follow tight curves. Since such curves frequently occurred in mountainous areas it was vital to use as many axles for adhesion as possible. Most applications were narrow-gauge.
Many different methods for driving swiveling wheels by means of complex levers and linkages were evolved, two of the more successful being the Hagans and the Klose systems. There were plenty of wholly unsuccessful approaches, such as the Fink system.
However, even the best of these was not very satisfactory in use, requiring excessive amounts of maintenance.

The Klien-Lindner system used a kind of universal joint inside a double axle, which allowed the reciprocating drive mechanism to remain a simple affair with a fixed relationship to the frame. It was invented and patented in Saxony in 1890 by two railway enginers; Ewald Klein and Heinrich Lindner.

A very similiar system had been introduced in England in 1881 by A P Heywood.

Left: The Klien-Lindner Axle

The inner central axle does not swivel, as it runs in bearings fixed to the frames outside of the wheels. Its only movements are rotation and up-and-down excursions due to the normal operation of locomotive suspension springs. It has drive cranks on the outside of the frames, coupled to the other driving wheels by conventional coupling rods.

The hollow outer axle is mounted on radial arms that permit it to swivel and move laterally, controlled by the centralising springs. The inner axle carries a large gudgeon pin that engages with the outer axle casing and drives it without interfering with these movements.

Above: The workings of a 0-8-0 Klien-Lindner locomotive. Note radial arms pivoted on the frame and hinged together in the middle.

Most KL locomotives were 0-8-0; there are only two fixed axles so this locomotive does not have a rigid wheelbase, and the body of the loco can follow the curves. This would not be the case with three or more fixed axles. Some 0-10-0 KL tank engines were built.

The Klien-Lindner system was used in many European states, and unravelling its detailed history would be a lengthy business. Here are a few examples of its use.

1) The KL system was used on the 0-8-0T brigadelok, the largest locomotive used by the German military railways. (Feldbahn) This compact 10-ton locomotive was introduced in 1905. It was used on the steep sections of the South West Africa Railway, (part of a German colony) where it was very successful in negotiating sharply curved and roughly laid track.

Above: The 0-8-0T brigadelok of the German Feldbahn.

This example was built by Henschel. A tender with extra fuel and water could be used.

By 1918 some 2500 examples had been delivered worldwide, made by fourteen different manufacturers, the major sources being Henschel & Sohn of Cassel, and Orenstein & Koppell.

2) In 1909 five Klien-Lindner 0-8-0 tank engines (from a batch of 40 originally built by the Budapest works between 1896 and 1901) were bought for the Czech rail system. One of them (No. 410.002) was only taken out of service in 1954, though whether it still had its KL axles at that date seems unlikely.

3) Two experimental KL compound 0-12-0T locomotives were built by Hartmann in 1916 for the Saxon State Railroad, as the Class XV HTV. These were to have a maximum speed of 44 mph. Their performance proved disappointing, and the KL axles were troublesome, so they were confined to the Dresden-Friederichstadt marshalling yard, and taken out of service after only 10 years.

Above: The Series XV HTV compound built in 1916 for the Saxon State Railroad. There was one HP and one LP cylinder each side, in a common casting, driving separate wheel groups. Note the short outside frames at each end, required by the KL axles.

4) 2-8-0 KL locomotives were used by the Sardinian Railway Company, a leading Bissel truck having been fitted.

The conclusion seems to be that Klien-Lindner axles were successful, but in view of the extra maintenance, maybe not quite successful enough. The KL axles were heavy, and many railways preferred the Golsdorf system of sideplay on the driving axles.

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