PICTURES: West Worthing level crossing before the war

West Worthing level crossing
West Worthing level crossing

IT has been called the worst level crossing in the country and has inspired a novelty Twitter account which mocks motorists and commuters.

But before the war, the West Worthing level crossing was far from the bottleneck it is today.

West Worthing level crossing

West Worthing level crossing

These postcards, which Robert Adams brought in to the Herald office, show a level crossing unrecognisable today.

Robert, 89, lived in Ethelred Road, Tarring, from 1928 to 1953 and he recalled how he and his brother would regularly cycle across the level crossing.

Robert, who now lives in King Edward Avenue, Broadwater, said: “It was very, very quiet. We used to ride bicycles over that crossing every day and we were never bothered by traffic.”

Prior to joining the Royal Navy as a 15-year-old and serving during World War II, Robert worked for Marshall’s Newsagents, which was feet away from the crossing.

He said the crossing began to change when electric trains were introduced to the area between 1933 and 1934.

“It started to turn when we got electric trains. Before that it was very quiet, but when the rail was electrified as far as West Worthing there used to be the terminal at the level crossing. The first day the electric train started my brother and I went to Lancing and back.”

In 1967, Robert emigrated to Canada before returning to England 10 years ago.

He said compared to when he last lived in Worthing things had changed, both for better and worse.

“I found a lot of Worthing hadn’t changed. The pace of Worthing was still very much slower than I had become used to. It had improved, though, in many ways but some things hadn’t progressed, like this level crossing, which has gone backwards. It’s a real bottleneck now,” he said.

Asked about what he thought about the West Worthing level crossing Twitter account, Robert added: “I think it’s a good thing. Something has to be done to improve it.”