SCS JV partners with ALICE Technologies to speed up HS2 tunnel construction

Progress being made on the HS2 project at Euston

SCS JV – a joint venture of Skanska, Costain and Strabag – and ALICE Technologies and working together to optimize the construction of the London tunnels of HS2. 

ALICE’S construction optioneering platform helps companies use the power of generative AI to plan, bid and build their capital projects more efficiently. 

Linking London, Birmingham and the North, the HS2 network will ultimately carry more than 30 million travellers each year. 

SCS JV is constructing 13 miles of twin-bore tunnels on the HS2 route to its southern terminus at Euston. 

The company has divided its tunnels work into three areas – west, central and east. 

It is now using the ALICE platform in the western area to optimize the construction schedule for the Mandeville Road ventilation shaft and headhouse. 

The ventilation shaft is the vertical opening that connects the HS2 tunnels to the surface and open air. 

It regulates air quality and temperature in the tunnel and allows smoke to be extracted in the event of a fire. 

The headhouse is the building on top of the ventilation shaft which contains fire control systems and the ventilation systems for the railway tunnels below.

The Mandeville Road ventilation shaft is one of four ventilation shafts to be constructed in a 13.5km section of the Northolt Tunnel between Old Oak Common station and the West Ruislip portal.

The work on the Mandeville shaft builds upon the SCS team’s successful use of the ALICE platform to explore faster sequencing options for the construction of the Euston SCL shaft, which provides critical access to the main tunnels that lead to Euston station. 

Through “what-if” analysis with ALICE, the SCS JV team was able to identify a way to trim the build time for the Euston shaft by 86 days working days, which represented a significant savings in associated overhead expenses.

“Construction optioneering with ALICE enables us to quickly and effectively explore alternative ways to build,” said Andy Irwin, construction manager of SCS JV. 

“The savings of both time and money that we identified with our initial work on the Euston SCL shaft was significant, and we’re now looking forward to expanding our use of ALICE to other portions of the project.”

ALICE CEO René Morkos added: “HS2 is one of the most important infrastructure projects being built in Europe today, and through its work on HS2’s tunnels, SCS JV has an essential role to play in its construction.

“We’ve been excited to help SCS JV bring construction optioneering and generative construction to bear in its drive for construction efficiency, and to assist in building this critical transportation resource for the UK.” 

If you would like to contact Karen McLauchlan about this, or any other story, please email