Rail Systems Technology

Leading international location

Berlin-Brandenburg is among the leading locations for railway technology; over 100 businesses and scientific institutions with more than 20,000 employees make the capital region one of the most important European centres for research, development and manufacturing.

Major industry players like Siemens, Bombardier, Stadler, Knorr-Bremse and voestalpine BWG are represented here alongside small to mid-sized enterprises. Deutsche Bahn has its headquarters in Berlin and concentrates many central functions in the region.

Besides BVG – the largest German public transport service provider – the Berlin and Brandenburg region is home to other transport operators like DB Regio Nordost and S-Bahn Berlin, ODEG, Abellio and Transdev (Netinera); Industriebahngesellschaft Berlin and Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn (Captrain); BEHALA; and Havelländische Eisenbahn.

Industry in the region focuses on the areas of vehicle engineering, infrastructure and transport systems, control and command technology, and on information and communications. There is also a large number of engineering companies providing services in the railway sector.

Attracting more than 3,000 exhibitors and around 153,000 trade visitors from 61 countries in 2018, InnoTrans is the world’s lead expo and largest international showcase for railway technology.

A region with invitation potential

The capital region is a driver of innovation in railway technology, focusing on interoperability, automation, digitalisation, lightweight construction, energy efficiency, and noise reduction.

This specialisation creates new opportunities for railway technology and influences the entire value chain. Research, development, production and operations benefit in particular from the trend toward digitalisation, creating smart networks with other transport modes and services, as well as new models for condition-based repair and maintenance. A hub for startups, the capital region offers a foundation for new and fruitful collaboration between established companies and dynamic tech firms, even in sectors with more traditional structures like the rail transport industry.

TU Berlin, BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, TH Brandenburg und TH Wildau possess outstanding competence in vehicle engineering, rail infrastructure and railway operations that extends from basic research to support in application development. They also have extensive know-how in additional disciplines, especially automotive engineering, materials engineering, information technology, logistics, and human-machine interaction, enabling cross-sectoral approaches and a high degree of interdisciplinarity. Other research institutions with a significant focus on rail transport technology include the three DLR institutes situated in Berlin-Adlershof and the four Fraunhofer institutes organised in the ‘Digital Networking’ Center of Excellence (LZDV). In addition, a modern education and innovation centre as well as an industrial park for the railway industry is being created at the Bahntechnologie Campus Havelland (BTC) in Wustermark, a former major marshalling yard to the west of Berlin.

Companies and research institutions from the region also occupy key positions in European projects for the development of railway systems in tomorrow’s world. Besides direct involvement by prestigious manufacturers and operators, other stakeholders are currently involved in projects within the European research program Shift2Rail, among them EURNEX, TU Berlin, Havelländische Eisenbahn, IAV and Witt IndustrieElektronik.

Outstanding connections in the region and Europe-wide

As one of the growth industries in the capital region, rail transport technology belongs to the Transport, Mobility and Logistics Cluster. The close and productive cooperation with other clusters in the capital region (such as the fields of IT, communications technology, energy technology and photonics) is an important factor in the performance of the regional economy. In addition, the cluster cooperates with other European partners within the European Railway Clusters Initiative (ERCI). Situated in Berlin, the European Rail Research Network of Excellence (EURNEX) coordinates research competency in the railway sector at a European level.


Lutz Hübner
Handlungsfeldverantwortlicher Schienenverkehrstechnik
Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH
Lars Zachau
Handlungsfeldverantwortlicher Schienenverkehrstechnik
Wirtschaftsförderung Land Brandenburg GmbH