Amateur football club TJ Tatran Cierny Balog prides itself on having one of the most unique stadiums in the world….complete with a railway track and a steam train running straight through it!
Cierny Balog is a small Slovakian town of about 5,100 souls, that has become somewhat of a tourist spot in the last seven years or so, all thanks to its football stadium.
In 2015, a video of a steam-powered train passing through the stadium, on tracks positioned right between the field and the only existing grandstand went popular, leaving people with lot of questions.
Was it just part of a one-time event, or was there actually a real train passing right through the stadium?
Well, as weird as it sounds, that last was the correct one, as the Čiernohronska Railway actually goes right through Cierny Balog stadium, and a steam-powered tourist train passes through it all summer long.
Either way, Cierny Balog stadium was built sometime during the 1980s at a time when the old railway was not in use anymore, but It’s unclear why the municipality chose that exact location to build it.
However, for an entire decade, the train tracks passing through it were just part of the decor.
Things changed in the early 1990s, when a group of Slovakian enthusiasts started repairing the train tracks and, as a result, in 1992, it was officially reopened as a heritage railway for tourists.
And now, during the summer, tourists wanting to admire the beauty of the Lower Tatras mountains from aboard a quaint train can buy tickets for a vintage steam engine-powered train that runs on a 17-km-long line between Chvatimech and Vydrovo.
And passing through the Cierny Balog stadium is one of the highlights of the trip.
Seeing the steam train rolling through the stadium during a football match is quite a surreal experience. The players try to ignore the train and its powerful whistling signal while, in the grandstand, some spectators wave to the train, and others try to keep their focus on the game.
Luckily Cierny Balog is believed to be the only stadium in the world with an active railway track passing straight through it but, in my opinion, it deserve a visit! From the grandstand or aboard…
Images from web – Google Research