In a remote, wooded, and hilly area of southwest Poland, within a labyrinth of tunnels, a secret train filled with treasure may have finally been discovered after extensive searches by hunters, historians and conspiracy theorists.
Inspectors will start examining the site where a "Nazi gold train" was claimed to have been found this summer. Two men said they have found one of the long-lost trains –- experts believe there are three –- in August.
The trains could be filled with looted artwork, documents, artifacts, and gold worth millions of dollars. The "gold train" search will begin in Walbrzych, a city in southwest Poland. Some historians say that the trains disappeared as the Red Army gained momentum near the Czech border. The area was also home to Project Riese, a complex network of Nazi tunnels and weapons programs. There are no existing plans, records, or witnesses to the project.
Piotr Koper, 44, said he and his friend located the train using radars after receiving a tip from a local miner. They are asking for 10 percent of the value of the artifacts and goods found on the train. Some experts, like historian Joanna Lamparska, question the men's story.
"Every five years the news appears that we are now close, we're at the entrance of the tunnel and we'll soon get inside,” Lamparska told ABC News.
"[The tunnels under the mountains of Walbrzych] could be part of any old mines,” Historian Bartosz Rdultowski told The New York Times. "Before the war, there were about 200 of them here."
Until this summer's potential discovery, the fiscally-strapped regional government of Walbrzych did not have the funds or incentive to spend money on what some consider to be a wild goose chase.
Arkadiusz Grudzien, a spokesman for the mayor of Walbrzych, told ABC News that the non-invasive inspection will be conducted by the reputable Krakow Mining and Metallurgy Academy. The Academy said it expects to conclude the data collection by the end of this month, weather permitting. If the results are promising, an excavation attempt will be made probably in early spring, when there’s no snow on the ground.
Locals in Walbrzych have taken advantage of the rush of tourists and treasure hunters into the area by selling mementos with gold train references.