At the end of the 19th century, Berlin grew into an industrial city. Apart from waterways, goods were mainly transported by rail. With the development of the railway network, passenger traffic also became increasingly important, and the demand for train services entailed the set-up of new railway depots for the maintenance of trains. In 1902, the Schöneweide railway depot was built, including administrative buildings, a water tower and a roundhouse for the service of the frequently used steam locomotives. The plant was in operation until 1994, being continuously expanded and adapted to new technologies.
Even before the railway depot was shut down by Deutsche Bahn, the Dampflokfreunde Berlin association used the site for its collection of historic locomotives. The volunteers are not only concerned with the preservation of the trains, but also with the protection of the historic buildings. Guided by the slogan "Berlin under steam", the historic trains regularly go on round trips in Berlin and longer tours to more distant destinations.