Our 481 series

Inspired by its distinctive front, our 481 series was affectionately nicknamed “Diving Goggles”.

A child of Reunification

A refurbished 481 train serving the S41 ring route
There are currently four production series running on Berlin's S-Bahn rails: one of them is the 481 series.

Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall it became clear that a reunited S-Bahn network in a reunited capital would also need a unified, state-of-the-art train series! This was something both S-Bahn operators, BVG and Reichsbahn, could easily agree on. Although they had both designed and developed new trains as recently as the 1980s (the 480 and 485 series, respectively), it was obvious that these wouldn’t be able to meet the new and novel operating requirements.

The 500 quarter trains of the 481 series (two cars each), manufactured and delivered by Bombardier/Adtranz between 1996 and 2004, make up the backbone of the current Berlin S-Bahn fleet – and will continue to do so for a long time, thanks to a special renewal project supported by the joint efforts of Brandenburg and Berlin.

Well-equipped for all contingencies!

All 481 trains are equipped with large multi-purpose compartments. In-train passenger information is provided by a scrolling LED display and an automatic announcement system. Safety-enhancing features include improved pass-through access, an easy-to-use emergency call system, and vandalism-resistant design.

Fit for the future!

After 15 years of daily operations, our Project Longevity adds at least another 15 years of reliable service. To this end, all 481 series quarter trains receive a thorough inspection and overhaul at the Schöneweide S-Bahn depot – including refurbishment, where required, and new, modern interior fittings and furnishings. 

Project Longevity

Romano in front of S-Bahn doors

Get on board and find out what’s new!

Black doors – and what else? Discover all the renewal measures and new features in detail on our dedicated Project Longevity page.

Spot the difference? It’s easy to tell which carriages have been refurbished: as part of the refresh, all 481 series also receives a new look and colour scheme. This matches the design of the brand new 483/484 series trains that have been gracing our tracks since 2021: more ochre, less red, black doors.

481 series at the Schöneweide workshop
All 481 series trains are thoroughly checked and completely overhauled at the Schöneweide workshop.

Why some trains are labelled 482

On behalf of S-Bahn Berlin, a total of six quarter trains were delivered as walkthrough half trains (made up of 2 quarter trains). These are correctly called the 482 series.

Colour our S-Bahn

Paint those trains!

Our S-Bahn series trains are also available as colouring pages. Just download and get creative!

Technical specifications
First introduced on: 22 February 1996
In service from: 10 December 1996
Specification: quarter train
Quantity: 500
Gauge: 1.435 mm
Coupling length: 36.800 mm
Vehicle width: 3.140 mm
Vehicle height: 3.585 mm
Floor height: 1.000 mm
Seats (additional standing capacity): 94 (200)
Bogie axle base distance: 2.200 mm
Wheel diameter : 820 mm
Supply voltage: 750 V DC
Maximum speed: 100 km/h
Maximum acceleration: 1,0 m/ s²
Performance: 6 x 97,5 kW = 585 kW
Empty weight: 59 t

Other S-Bahn train series

480 series twin unit

480 Series

Driver’s cabs at both ends of each quarter train make our 70 series 480 quarter trains especially versatile.

485 series train

485 Series

Our oldest train series, 485, has been in service since 1987. To this day, 80 quarter trains continue to run on Berlin’s tracks.

Introducing the new S-Bahn Berlin series look

New S-Bahn trains for Berlin

Quieter, brighter, more comfortable: our new S-Bahn has made the S47 a smoother ride since early 2021.