Shaft CounterShaft: The Fink System.

Gallery opened Sept 2003

Updated: 28 Dec 2017
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The semi-articulation system designed by Pius Fink was one of the earliest methods devised for applying power to a swivelling section of a locomotive. Not, unfortunately, one of the more successful ones.

The Fink system is normally considered a variation on the Engerth system. (Wikipedia page)

Left: The Gerliste No 502

The boiler was carried by three forward axles fixed to it, driven conventionally by two cylinders at the front. The firebox rested on a roller on the "pseudo-tender" which held the two rearmost axles, swivelling with respect to the front section.

Unfortunately there was a major problem; the Fink linkage was not kinematically correct- in other words the geometry of the mechanism did not properly compensate for the angular movement on curves. Fink is quoted as claiming that the error was only 1 millimetre, but coping with this required the stregthening of various parts. This philosophy is hard to understand, as such beefing-up would not have corrected the kinematics and so presumably the bending was transferred to some other part of the assembly, or it would have jammed solid. This does not sound like good engineering and the Fink locomotives... "did not give satisfaction" according to Wiener. I am not surprised.

Thanks to Chuck Bencik for providing this picture.

Left: The Gerliste No 502

For a long time this was the only photograph I was able to trace of a Fink System locomotive, No 502 "Gerliste".

The first locomotive was No 500 "Steierdorf"; also built were No 501 "Krahsova", (or "Krassova") No 502 "Gerliste", pictured above, and "Lissawa". The last was presumably No 503 but this is not so far confirmed,

Apologies for poor picture quality. Date and location unknown.

Left: Side elevation and plan of No 500 "Steierdorf". The articulation joint is shown by the red arrow.

The Fink system was based on driving the two swivelling rear axles from a countershaft (shown in orange in the diagram) which was driven from the main driving wheels by a connecting rod (pale blue).

This countershaft remained parallel to the front axles, but was moved back and forwards by the green struts attached to the rearmost of the front three axles; the crank on this axle is shown in dark blue. I regret that this description is a bit vague, but I am relying on a single brief textual description of the mechanism.
The first of the rear axles was driven from the countershaft by what I cannot resist calling the Fink Link, (in pink) and in turn drove the fifth axle, via a conventional connecting rod. (also pink)

The European description of the wheel arrangement is CB'n2

Wiener: Ungewöhnliche Dampflokomtiven

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