Electric locomotive 243 001 of the railway company of the German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Reichsbahn).
• "White Lady"
• Featuring separately attached windscreen wipers for the first time
• Specially attached plug-in parts, in part using etching technology
• Printed signs with lettering as 212-001 and 243 001 included
At the beginning of the 1980s, advancements in the electrification of the DR network necessitated the development of a four-axle electric locomotive. Originally, two designs were planned. The class 212 with a top speed of 160 km/h for express train service, and the class 243 with a top speed of 120 km/h for passenger and goods train services. In 1982, the 140 km/h trial engine 212 001 manufactured by LEW in Hennigsdorf was presented at the Leipzig Spring Exhibition. However, because the DR speed concept of the time only planned for a top speed of 120 km/h, the 212 did not go into series production.
The class 212 prototype was subsequently used for a comprehensive trial programme. After that, it was sent to the Raw (State Railway Repair Works) Dessau for test dismantling. This served the determination of economic servicing and inspection of the main assemblies. During the course of this work, the gear ratio was changed, the top speed was reduced to 120 km/h and the locomotive was renumbered as the 243 001. During the subsequent trial programme, the "White Lady" consistently proved its reliability. Afterwards, the German State Railway returned the prototype to the manufacturers, KLEW.