© DB AG / Faruk Hosseini

We have heaps of ballast

Ballast is the name given to the stones that make up the track bed. It secures sleepers, or ties, with the rails attached to them and has to have elastic properties for when trains weighing several tons pass through. These rocks need to be of a certain size, so we inspect them regularly and, if necessary, we remove, break and clean them or replace them. Ballast that is removed is completely recycled. The stones are processed either directly on site or at external certified facilities.

They can then be reused as recycled ballast or, for example, as crushed gravel for roadbuilding. In 2023, we used 3.9 million metric tons of ballast, more than 465,000 metric tons of which was recycled ballast. We want to further increase the share of recycled ballast up to 40 percent by 2030.