In rail, unrestricted access to associated underground network infrastructure during installation is a key factor in a project’s success. Delivery of the Canberra Light Rail Project saw the introduction of Australia’s first high strength modular access pit system capable of overcoming challenging dimensional restrictions and a highly accelerated schedule.

Stage One of the Canberra Light Rail Project is nearing completion, and includes the design and construction of a 12km light rail route spanning between Gungahlin to the city centre.

During installation of the Canberra Light Rail Project, project teams had to overcome restricted site access and limitations of the specified underground network access infrastructure. Having modular products that can be customised on site and adapted to project needs as they develop can greatly improve the flexibility of installation, reduce associated labour and plant costs, and eliminate challenges which otherwise cause significant delays.

The Canberra Light Rail Project had extensive project HV service footprint constraints which were mitigated by Cubis Systems, whose in-house design team developed the STAKKAbox™ ULTIMA Hybrid, an industry-first modular access pit system designed to meet the unique requirements of Australian rail networks.

Flexible design

The entire ULTIMA Hybrid assembly acted as an exoskeleton, consisting of an in-situ concrete base, the ULTIMA Connect pit system, ULTIMA beams and a three-part precast concrete encasement.

The design of the beams were engineered to deliver amplified lateral strength capabilities particularly for large access pits measuring two meters and above. All components were flat-packed for delivery, reducing freight and unloading costs.

For the Canberra Metro project, the STAKKAbox™ system was customised to three standardised pit sizes, with multiple additional custom Hybrid solutions provided to suit the large scope of works and changing installation requirements between all three project zones.

Reduction in time and costs

Time and cost savings are two of the most important considerations in any rail project and by using the ULTIMA Hybrid there was no need for specialist builders or heavy machinery resulting in no extensive traffic management or disruption, saving both time and associated labour costs.

The lightweight sections were rapidly installed on site, enabling two or more large custom pits to be fully assembled, including all connections and backfill, within one day by a small work crew. Modifications to the pits which accommodated the HV electrical conduits were easily completed using standard battery powered tools with the option to customise further as required.

Cubis Systems specialise in the design and manufacture of innovative access pit and cable protection solutions, including modular, precast concrete and rotationally-moulded plastics, used in rail projects across the country. Cubis continues to push design limitations with its CABLEprotect RAILduct™ product, a HDPE moulded cable trough system typically five times faster than traditional concrete units, reducing total cost of installation and improving health and safety.

This partner content is brought to you by Cubis Systems. For more information, visit

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