The DB class 481/482 is an elektric railcar designed for conductor rail operation used by the S-Bahn Berlin. It’s the latest design for the S-Bahn Berlin and currently the version that is used most. After reunification in 1990 the representatives of Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe and Deutschen Reichsbahn (the former operator of Berlin’s S-Bahn network) joined forces in defining the specs for a new class. A first mock-up model was presented to the public in 1993.

With the end of the German Democratic Republic came the opportunity to replace the rolling stock, which mainly consisted of outdated, pre-war class 475, 476 und 477 railcars. The average age of these railcars surpassed 40 years. Newer class 480 (West-Berlin) and class 485 (East-Berlin) railcars, which where obtained between 1986 and 1992, could have replaced the entire fleet. But they didn’t meet the new requirements for operation and comfort.

The new concept saw a renunciation of the old quarter train concept and a re-establishment of half train configurations. The railcars are equipped with polyphase motors and GEATRAC-controls (AEG).

Commissioning of the first 100 trains was in 1993.

The ministry of traffic ordered the lowering of the railcar’s floors from 1080 mm to 1000 mm at the end of 1993.

The first quarter train was introduced to the public in 1996 with a festive rollout at the main plant in Schöneweide. Since then, 60 quarter trains were deliverd each year, with the final, 500th quarter train being celebrated on September 30th, 2004.