ET 476

The Oranienburg design, introduced in 1925, proved to be a success in terms of train concept and space allocation, which is still used today by many mass transit operators worldwide. The smallest operable unit here is a so-called control quarter, consisting of a motor car and a control car. In connection with the planned further electrification of the Berlin Stadtbahn and Ringbahn, it was decided from 1927 onwards to procure further vehicles for the Deutsche Reichsbahn, which took up the concept of the Oranienburg design, but were lighter and technically improved.

Delivery of the new Stadtbahn design took place between 1927 and 1931, with over 1,000 railcars, control cars and side cars being built for the Berlin S-Bahn. Among them was the railcar elT 3371, which was designated as ET 165 299 from 1941 in a new series. After the ET 165 series, additional trains were purchased until the end of the Second World War and Berlin had the most modern and efficient S-Bahn network in Europe with over 2,000 cars. Due to the Second World War, there were shortages of spare parts and it was decided to convert the control cars into simple side cars. The dismantled parts were then used as spare parts.

After World War II, the Deutsche Reichsbahn continued operation in all 4 sectors of Berlin. After the general overhaul in the 1950s, the class ET 165 railcars were converted to single-man operation starting in 1965. In addition to the installation of a train radio system and a safety driving circuit, this was externally recognizable by the two pairs of lamps at the front of the railcar. In the passenger compartment itself, the ceilings and walls were mostly covered with “Sprelacart” and the seats received new artificial leather upholstery.

Units that had not been modernized could be arranged as “pass quarters” in the middle of the train because the control lines for the new technology were simply laid through. When the EDP numbering system was also introduced at the Deutsche Reichsbahn in 1970, the class ET 165 was re-designated as the new class 275. In the process, railcars were given odd numbers and trailer cars were given even numbers.

Due to constant squabbles, in 1984 West Berlin’s BVG took over the operating rights for commuter rail service in West Berlin from the Deutsche Reichsbahn (of the GDR). BVG received a number of class 275 railcars and sidecars for this purpose. Due to a shortage of cars, pass quarters were also combined into full trains in West Berlin, for which a conductor had to ride along for dispatching in addition to the locomotive driver due to the lack of train radio equipment.

Since the old S-Bahn trains still had to be used in East Berlin as well, the decision was made to fundamentally modernize the vehicle fleet. The class 275 trains were modernized at the former Schöneweide depot in the 1980s. In the process, the windows were replaced with top-hung windows. Furthermore, a visual and acoustic door closing signal was installed. The most striking feature was the change of the railcar front to two large windows with a train destination indicator housed in the right-hand window. The rebuilt light rail vehicles were classified as class 276.1. (The class 276.0 had already been occupied by old Bankier, Olympia, and Peenemünde type vehicles.)

After reunification, a common numbering system was introduced at DB and DR. Electric railcars were given numbers from the 400 series, so the class 275 railcars were renumbered as 475 and the trailer cars as 875. The class 276.1 was renumbered as 476 or 876. During the reclassification, the order numbers were reassigned for all series. Since all quarter trains of the old 276.0 series had already been retired, the class 476 was also started again with the ordinal number 1 – i.e. 476 001 (railcar) + 876 001 (trailer) and the following.

In 1994, the Deutsche Bundesbahn and the Deutsche Reichsbahn merged to form Deutsche Bahn AG. In 1995, S-Bahn Berlin GmbH was founded, a subsidiary of DB AG. At this time, many old vehicles were still in service. These were quickly replaced by newbuilds and the class 475 with its typical three window front was phased out after 70 years by 1997. By the year 2000, the modernized 476s had also been retired.

The 476 033-6 was purchased by a private individual and came on permanent loan to the Darmstadt-Kranichstein Railroad Museum as a typical early representative of commuter rail service in large metropolitan areas. The technical peculiarity in Berlin consists of a lateral conductor rail swept from below with 750 volts direct current. In addition, there is the lower clearance gauge, which means that only trains up to a height of approx. 3.60 m can be used on the Berlin S-Bahn.

In Hamburg, too, the power is supplied via a lateral conductor rail, but with 1,200 volts direct current and swept laterally from above.

Technical specifications


Waggon- und Maschinenbau AG (WUMAG), Görlitz (PL)






80 km/h


2 Fahrmotoren 800V=


360 kW (490 PS)


66 t

Axle Arrangement

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Gender notice

For better reading, the masculine form is used for personal names and personal nouns on this website. Corresponding terms apply in principle to all genders for the purpose of equal treatment. The abbreviated form of language is for editorial reasons only and does not imply any valuation.

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