A BREAKDOWN in communication has caused havoc at Chester’s railway station and city centre businesses after a telephone cable was cut by accident.
Around 1,600 homes and 4,000 telephone lines went down when a cable was accidentally severed by BT contractors working on network improvements at Delamere Street at 9pm on Monday.
It left phones dead, chip and pin machines inoperable and internet booking down.
Chester train station, the Queen Hotel and other businesses on City Road and Brook Street were amongst those hit. Lines could be out of action until next week.
Simon Williams, general manager of the Queen Hotel, says his hotel alone could have lost up to £250,000.
He said: “Paying by credit card becomes impossible.
“It knocks out the internet so knocks out all computer systems – all reservations, checking in and out, posting bills.
“I’m realistic enough to know at times things go wrong but one would think there would be some back-up.
“We keep being given different stories by BT. First we’re told a truck had hit a pole and the lines would be back up in a few hours.
“Then we were told that someone had cut through a cable. Then we were told that a major piece of kit at the exchange had broken.
“The more time we work without phones the more staff we need to employ. It’s costing us a fortune.
“I would calculate the lost business as between £100,000 and £250,000.”
In the week that the new concourse is due to be officially opened, computerised departure boards at Chester train station were not working.
Arriva Trains Wales head of stations, Peter Northcott said: “Train services have and are running as normal from Chester station.
“We have been able to put procedures in place to continue to run the station. The customer information systems were disabled but we have been making regular loudspeaker announcements.”
A BT spokeswoman said: “We are working to restore this service following this incident and we apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused.”