One driver in South Farm Road said he was stuck from 4.30pm for about half an hour while the gates near Worthing railway station remained down.
He added: “Eventually, a Network Rail man in hi vis and a van turned up, but there was no one from the station.”
Drivers either side of the crossing had to turn around while the problem was dealt with.
Pedestrians were allowed to use the underpass at the railway station to cross the line.
The problem was resolved by just after 5.30pm, when the engineers tested the gates going up and down a couple of times them moved their vans and declared the crossing working again.
Engineers remained to continue working on the crossing gates until around 9.30pm.
The gates are notorious for waits of nearly ten minutes on occasion so the drivers did not at first realise there was a problem.