2018 Integrated Report – On track towards a better Railway


Resource efficiency

Recycling of ballast and concrete sleepers

For maintenance of the ballast bed, we have set up a materials cycle for ballast, concrete ties  no. 73 and tracks. About 4 to 5 million tons of old material are removed from the network annually and then almost the same volume is rebuilt into the network. About 1.6 million tons of ballast are mechanically removed every year on-site by track-bound ballast cleaning machines or mobile processing plants and immediately reused. This significantly reduces the amount needed for new ballast, in addition to reducing its transport costs and greenhouse gas emissions. For the most part, the rest of the material is processed into recycled ballast no. 51 in an external certified disposal facility for DB Group or prepared as gravel or crushed sand for road building. A total of 3.5 million tons of ballast were used in the year under review, about 0.7 million tons of which were recycled ballast.