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STAKKAbox™ ULTIMA Passes Amtrak Cabling Test


Amtrak put the Cubis STAKKAbox™ ULTIMA to the test, and found it to be an extremely durable, customisable, and easy-to-install solution for protecting railway wiring components.

Project Challenges

Transit signal and communications functions are key to the effectiveness and safety of mass transportation systems, particularly commuter rail. The reliability of the infrastructure that protects these critical components is therefore of utmost importance.

The Amtrak Wilmington test yard conducted a test of an innovative Cubis wiring pit for application to a commuter rail line. Typically, heavy polymer concrete boxes are used along with cable trench and ducting to provide a protective system to coordinate transit signal and communication wiring. These polymer concrete boxes have traditionally been difficult to modify without compromising their strength. In addition, the covers are heavy to remove, and the concrete is susceptible to cracking.



Cubis Solution

For the test, Oldcastle Infrastructure provided Amtrak with a 1000mm x 1000mm x 1200mm STAKKAbox™ ULTIMA access pit with composite covers.

The opening was designed to allow easy interface with the Plastibeton Cable Trench System.

Installation was simple and straightforward:

  • An excavator was used to dig a hole in the ground for installation.
  • The excavator then lifted and set the completely assembled pit into the hole. (Note: Due to the layered design of the STAKKAbox™ ULTIMA, the
    pit could also be assembled directly in the hole, if necessary.)
  • The area around the pit was backfilled.
  • The frame was placed and screws were used to secure composite covers to the frame.

The total time for the installation was approximately 3 hours.


The Amtrak crew was extremely impressed with the strength and durability of the pit, along with how simple it is to install.

By Chris Schultz, Product Manager


The ULTIMA pit proved a durable and easy-to-configure solution due to the following outstanding characteristics:

  • The components and covers are lightweight, which assists with installation and provides easy access to cables in the future.
  • Openings for cable trench or ducting can be provided in advance or even cut onsite, without compromising strength and performance.
  • The layered design of ULTIMA means that rings can be added or removed to reach a customized final depth as required.
  • The Glass Reinforced Polyester Resin (GRP) components will not crack when placed close to vibrating rails.

Gold Standard Durability: The “Track Test”

To assess its reliability, the STAKKAbox™ ULTIMA pit was subjected to the “track test.” The maintenance crew made their best attempt to destroy the box, to ensure that it would perform under extreme encounters during normal use.

The evaluation included the following rigorous measures:

  • Driving a fully loaded excavator over the pit
  • Placing the excavator stabilizer directly on the pit and moving the arm up and down so the entire excavator was “bouncing” on the pit
  • Igniting CADWeld directly on the cover and pit sides, producing temperatures that exceeded 1400º C
  • Lifting and dropping an 380kg concrete rail tie directly on the pit from approximately 3m high

After testing was complete, the pit still met all form and function requirements and was left in a main maintenance way next to the rail. The Amtrak crew was extremely impressed with the strength and durability of the pit, which was even more notable given the simplicity of its installation.