I was just yards away when the barrier came down and I was left wondering how many slow trains would pass before I’d get going again.

This was how I ended up in The Railway Inn at Portslade – basically impatience combined with pure luck I could pull off the road safely.

Now, regular PubSpy fans will have heard my theories about pubs on the wrong side of the tracks, or any side of the tracks for that matter. I’ve always thought it’s only a matter of time before a fight breaks out at a boozer by a railway. Plus, I don’t recall hearing about great pubs in Portslade.

So, with expectations low, I stepped up to the bar and ordered a pint of the guest ale of the day – I was very politely invited to try all the ales on offer but even I had to admit I knew what Sussex Best tasted like so stopped sampling at this point. I settled on a pint of Hampshire Rose from the Itchen Valley Brewery for £4.10. It had a pleasant golden colour with a small head and was drinkable enough without being memorable.

With our very pleasant summer spell continuing, who said global warming was a bad thing, I headed outdoors and found myself in a delightful enclosed area with a series of railway carriage booths on one side.

Just about everything in the place has some sort of train link. Even the timber underfoot, which you are warned gets slippery in wet weather, looks like old railway sleepers. I also liked the table which had been fashioned from what looked like an old piece of train luggage.

I realise it’s all window dressing and I doubt there are any original pieces on show, but it does create a feel of railways from yesteryear – mind you, even rooted to the floor the carriages marked British Southern Railway may still be more useful and effective than Govia Thameslink’s current efforts.

There is a lovely private function room at the rear called The Platform which is available for hire. While I was in there was a wedding reception taking place with all the bridesmaids in dark blue dresses. The younger ones enjoyed a great game in and out of the carriages – I wondered if the sign saying all children must be off the premises by 8pm would apply to them. Wandering back inside I couldn’t help thinking how popular the place must be as every single table was reserved from 7.30pm.

And then a small man carrying a toolbox and wheeling a suitcase came in – a woman, who I assume is the manageress, rushed over and threw her arms around him greeting him like a long lost relative. She then checked what he was drinking and had a pint of iced tap water delivered immediately.

I thought the pub must be in desperate need of an emergency repair and he was prepared to stay the night. I learned this was little Alex, quizmaster extraordinaire, and given the popularity of Monday night’s quiz and the table bookings I realise why she was so glad he showed up.

I shifted across to a pint of Staropramen, lovingly served in a mug, for £4.80 and exchanged pleasantries at the Platform 9 ¾ bar (one for Potter fans) with a couple of working fellows wearing high-vis shorts – we have all embraced this warm weather spell, haven’t we? They assured me an 8pm quiz start was too late for them as they’d be in bed.

There are so many lovely touches in this popular pub – the shelves of sweets in old fashioned jars, the fact every light fitting is different, the milk bottle holding fresh flowers, a wall devoted to train pictures, letters rather than numbers on the outside tables, sweet smelling jasmine in the garden.

In other ways this is a straightforward place, excluding the pink plastic flamingo, offering what you’d expect – 2-4-1 burgers on a Wednesday, a wide selection of drinks, nice hanging baskets, music at a sensible level (I noticed Amy Winehouse, KT Tunstall and Passenger while I was in) but it’s all managed well. They even had the gents spotlessly clean and sweet smelling.

I think overall it is the way the place is managed which impressed me most. I have to presume the person in change was the friendly lady who favoured the spectacular retro 50s look – everything about her exuded quality and professionalism.

There are no fruit machines, quiz machines, pool table, darts, jukebox – nothing to distract anyone from enjoying themselves in this great, vibrant pub.

I’m delighted the barrier descended in front of me and I’m equally pleased to report my theory on railway pubs disproved – this is an excellent option which caters for all ages and attracts a wonderful mix of people.

The Railway Inn
Boundary Road Portslade
BN41 1GA

Decor: ****
They might not be original, but I really liked all the train tut.

Drink: *** 
Three real ales available but a stack of lagers to back them up.

Price: ***
The guest ale is keenly priced at £4.10 and the Star also came in under a fiver. 

Atmosphere: ****
Quiz night is clearly popular but I bet it buzzes at other times too. 

Staff: ****
Well marshalled and a credit to their manageress – great look, by the way.

BREAKING NEWS – you can now find all my reviews on a new map of the area – just log on to www.theargus.co.uk/news/16406101.pubs-visited-by-pubspy-in-brighton-and-sussex-mapped/
Email pubspy@theargus.co.uk and find me on social media – Facebook/Pubspy Argus and Twitter @PubSpyArgus.