Experts to inspect alleged site of 'Nazi treasure train'

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Polish soldiers launched a search for the World War II 'gold train' in a region near Wroclaw, on September 28, 2015

Polish soldiers launched a search for the World War II 'gold train' in a region near Wroclaw, on September 28, 2015 (AFP Photo/Piotr Hawalej)

Warsaw (AFP) - Experts will next week begin inspecting the site in the southwestern Polish city of Walbrzych where a Nazi train that could contain looted treasure is allegedly buried, the city said Thursday.

A first group of experts, including the two men who claimed to have found the armoured Nazi train, will likely start their non-invasive search early next week, according to municipal spokesman Arkadiusz Grudzien.

A second group from the Mining Academy in Krakow will follow suit, he said.

"The experts will be able to use different measuring equipment and detectors but are not allowed to touch the ground," Grudzien told AFP.

"They won't be able to dig, or drill or introduce cameras into the ground. They're only allowed to perform a non-invasive search."

Treasure hunters Piotr Koper of Poland and Andreas Richter, a German, announced in August they had discovered a 98-metre-long (320-foot-long) train carriage buried eight to nine metres underground in a railway tunnel.

They believe the contents are mostly weapons prototypes, though according to local legend they could also include artwork and Nazi documents.

An army unit including a bomb squad completed tests at the site last month and declared it free of hazardous material.

Deputy Culture Minister Piotr Zuchowski said in August he was "more than 99 percent sure" the train exists after seeing ground-penetrating radar images.

But officials have since cast doubt on its existence, saying there was no credible evidence of it, without giving up their bid to verify the claim.

Rumours of two Nazi trains that disappeared at the end of World War II have been circulating for years, capturing the imagination of treasure-hunters.

The lore is fuelled by a massive network of secret underground tunnels near Walbrzych -- including around the massive Ksiaz Castle -- that Nazi Germany built and where legend has it the Third Reich stashed looted valuables.