The Class 481/482 is an electric multiple unit train for the Berlin S-Bahn which was designed to replace the aging rail cars after the German reunification in 1990.
In 1990 most of the rail cars were still composed of mostly Class 475, 476 and 477 vehicles from before World War II. The average age was about 40 years at the time. Both the West Berlin and East Berlin S-Bahn operators had already started to replace their aging fleet with Class 480 (West) and Class 485 (East). The German reunification prompted a unification of the operators leading also to a requirement of a common operation scheme for the whole of Berlin. When the last of the 500 rail cars had been delivered, the theoretical 55 years average age shrunk to merely 6 years in 2004.