Unique line across football field may have to shut down. Land under tracks bought by developer

A steam train passes between the stands and the sideline. Credit: CHZ.skA steam train passes between the stands and the sideline. Credit: CHZ.sk

The owner of the land argues that the track was closed in the 1980s.

Ciernohronska zeleznice, or the Cierny Hron Forestry Railway, is a 760mm gauge forest railway connecting the villages of Podbrezova, Valaska, Hronec and Cierny Balog in the Slovak Ore Mountains. It operates on 20 kilometres of the line. Its operator wants to electrify the line in cooperation with the Banská Bystrica Region and extend it to the Low Tatras in the future.

The railway is now in trouble because of the land under the tracks. The land on part of the line was acquired by a developer who wants to build 50 houses on the site. Now the line may have to disappear.

Radio and Television of Slovakia (RSTV) reported about the situation. The dispute is now being resolved by the Slovak Ministry of Transport. The section of track in question is the one that made the local narrow gauge railway world-famous: the track passes through the grounds of the local football club between the stands and the sideline. It happens that a match is being played and a steam train passes by the players.

“It’s a unique track that brings in people from all over the world. Now we have to fight to preserve it,” says Ciernohronska zeleznice director Ales Bilek.

Trains have been running here since 1913. The dispute now concerns the situation caused in the 1980s. Officially, the line was shut down before enthusiasts started preserving it. A couple of years before the official cancellation however, the structure was declared a national cultural monument. The developer wants to shut down the line because it’s on his land. The Ministry of Transport is supposed to decide whether the line is being operated legally.

 

Edited and translated by Lucie Trávníčková.

 

Tagy Ciernohronska zeleznice
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