This European Football Stadium Has an Active Railway Track Passing Right Through It

Slovakian 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 engine running straight through it.

Cierny Balog, a small Slovakian town of about 5,100 people, has become somewhat of a tourist spot in the last seven years or so, and it was all thanks to its football stadium. In 2015, a video of a steam engine passing through the stadium, on tracks positioned right between the field and the only existing grandstand went viral online, leaving a lot of people scratching their heads. Was it CGI, was it just part of a one-time event, or was there actually a train regularly passing right through the stadium? Well, as weird as it sounds, that last one was actually correct. The Čiernohronska Railway goes right through Cierny Balog stadium, and a steam-powered tourist train passes through it all summer long.

Cierny Balog stadium was built sometime during the 1980s, at a time when the old railway was not in use anymore. It’s unclear why the municipality chose that exact location to build a football stadium, but 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. In 1992, it was officially reopened as a heritage railway for tourists.

During the summer, tourists wanting to admire the beauty of the Lower Tatras mountains from aboard a train can buy tickets for a vintage steam engine-powered train that runs on a 17-km-long line between Chvatimech and Vydrovo. 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, while others try to keep their focus on the game.

Cierny Balog is believed to be the only stadium in the world with an active railway track passing straight through it.


And here we thought having a tree growing in the stands of a football stadium was weird…