Train snags phone line, cuts service

Heather Vitale

Nearly 2,000 AT&T subscribers affected

Almost 2,000 people were without service after a train collided with a telephone line early Sunday morning. The train was a combination car heading eastbound toward Ravenna.

The train was extended too high, Bill Lillich, safety director for the city of Kent, said. A beam connected to the bridge was hung lower than the bridge deck, causing the train to snag the cable. The train hit the beam on the Main Street bridge around 6 a.m. and knocked out the cable.

AT&T has had a crew out since Sunday working on the problem. The company took a cable from another facility to replace the broken one. The cable was put up Monday, Lillich said. Service will gradually be restored.

There is priority over who will be restored with service first, Gene Roberts, service director for the city of Kent, said. The west side fire station will be one of the first reconnected. It has an emergency phone line outside the building that would not connect if services were out. The city’s networks and other businesses that depend on this communication are of main concern, Roberts said. He said 1,800 lines have to be reconnected and service should be restored by noon today.

The outage may affect the southwest part of the city the most, Lillick said.

“I’m sure people are relying on cell phones,” he said. “They can use any neighbor’s phones that are still operating for any emergencies. This is a public utility and we’ve done everything we can,” Roberts said.

For further repair, representatives from AT&T are working directly with the county engineer. Even though power will be restored, Roberts said there isn’t an exact engineering plan for reattaching the cable to the bridge yet. No time frame has been established as to when all damages will be repaired. The counties will go three days without power at the most but the permanent damage is going to take a little longer to fix.

Contact public affairs reporter Heather Vitale at [email protected].