Baureihe (Class) 143 has perhaps the most interesting history of all of Deutsche Bahn's electric locomotive types.

143 originated as Deutsche Reichsbahn's Baureihe 243 and was, at the time of its development, the most high-tech product of the GDR rolling stock industry. Thyristor motor control for smooth acceleration, an air-conditioned cab, single-beam pantographs etc. made it an admirable piece of technology. 646 were built between 1982 and 1990.

When Deutsche Bundesbahn and Deutsche Reichsbahn merged into Deutsche Bahn in 1994, the DR 243 became 143. Somewhere along the way, it had spawned the classes 112 and 114, and still, hundreds of those locos work the German rails. You could probably argue that the ex-243 is one of, if not the most successful product East German industry ever made.

Technical fact sheet:

  • Concept: Bo'Bo' layout (four axles in two bogies), all axles driven; conventional two-phase AC motors controlled by a 31-level thyristor controller
  • Power: 3720 kW for one hour at 102 km/h; 3500 kW sustained; -2200 kW when electrically braking
  • Traction: 240 kN maximum, 120 kN for one hour
  • Top speed: 120 km/h allowed
  • Total weight: 82.8 tonnes (20.7 tonnes per axle)
  • Height: 3.98 m
  • Length: 16.64 m
  • Distance between bogies: 8.5 m
  • Distance between axles in bogie: 3.4 m
  • Diameter of driven wheels: 1.25 m

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