Going to any sporting event to watch your favorite teams play, as opposed to staying at home and watching the live broadcast, has its perks. Stadium is all about the experience—the noise, the crowd, the shouting, the occasional disruption—it all adds to the thrill. So imagine how thrilling the experience must be for spectators watching the TJ Tatran Čierny Balog club play against visiting teams, when the game is disrupted by an old steam train chugging right through the stadium between the stands and the pitch. This municipal stadium in Čierny Balog in Slovakia is the only stadium in the world with a pair of live railway tracks cutting across it.
Čierny Balog is a large municipality, a conglomeration of thirteen villages, which was one of the centers of the anti-Nazi Slovak National Uprising during the Second World War. The historical narrow gauge railway was built in the early 1900s, originally to transport wood between Čierny Balog and Hronec. Later, the network was extended to transport wood from the forests and by the middle of the 20th century the railway had a total length of nearly 132,000 kilometers, and was the most extensive forestry railway network in Czechoslovakia.
When the railway was laid in 1914 there was no football pitch. That was built later, as the village grew. In 1982 the the railway stopped operating, but ten years later, it started running again as a heritage railway for tourists.
The Čierny Hron railway track is now 17 kilometers long.
The football stadium belongs to the local TJ Tatran Čierny Balog club. It’s a small stadium with only two stands on one side, and open on the rest. The tracks pass directly in front of the stands.