A mysterious Nazi ghost train rumoured to be loaded with gold and gems from the Second World War has been confirmed found underground in Poland.
Government officials said the train is 100m long and covered in heavy plated armour, which indicates it has a ‘special cargo’ on board.
War historians sparked fears the carriages could be booby-trapped with mines to deter would-be treasure hunters.
This is the exploration group that has been drilling holes around #goldtrain location
The stunning find was discovered by two explorers but their identities have so far been kept secret.
It is that it’s based along an underground 4km stretch of track on the Wroclaw-Walbrzych line.
It also emerged that a former Nazi soldier who helped hide the stash made a deathbed confession about its location.
Piotr Zuchowski, national heritage conservation officer for then Polish Culture Ministry, told a press conference about the incredible development.
Investigation: A military train has been found in Poland, although it is not yet known what was on it
He said the train is 100 metres long and was discovered using ground-penetrating radar but the contents are still not known at this time.
Mr Zuchowski said: “We do not know what is inside the train.
“Probably military equipment but also possibly jewellery, works of art and archive documents. The train is 100 metres long and is protected.
“The fact that it is armoured indicates it has a special cargo.”
Revelation: Piotr Zuchowski makes the astonishing annoucnement about the Nazi train
Pictures posted on Twitter claim to show exploratory excavation work at the site.
Radio Wroclaw reports the train is located along a four kilometre stretch of track of the Wroclaw-Walbrzych line near Walbrzych.
Yesterday authorities politicians in the Polish city of Walbrzych have confirmed that a “military train” has been found – although they would not reveal what was on the train or if it was indeed one used by the Nazis.
A search was ordered after two treasure hunters claimed to have discovered the train last week.
The armoured train is rumoured to have belonged to the Wehrmacht and disappeared into a mountain tunnel towards the end of the Second World War.
Fortune-hunters have looked for it for decades, and in the communist era the Polish army and security services even carried out apparently fruitless searches for it.
After the investigation was launched, local politicians revealed there was some truth to the men’s claims.
Treasure: A US soldier inspects thousands of gold wedding bands taken from jews by the Nazi’s and stashed in the Heilbron Salt Mines
Speaking to press, Deputy Mayor of Walbrzych Zygmunt Nowaczyk said: “The city [of Walbrzych] is full of mysterious stories because of its history.
“Now it is formal information – [we] have found something.”
Local news reports said the train in question went missing in 1945, packed with loot from the-then eastern German city of Breslau, now called Wroclaw and part of Poland, as the Red Army closed in at the end of World War Two.
MACIEJ KULCZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Scenery: An aerial view on the Ksiaz Castle in Walbrzych
Radio Wroclaw cited local folklore as saying the train entered a tunnel near Ksiaz Castle in the mountainous Lower Silesian region and never emerged. According to that theory, the tunnel was later closed and its location long forgotten.
According to Radio Wroclaw, the 150-metre-(495-foot)-long train was carrying guns, “industrial equipment”, gems and other valuable treasure. Tokarska said she did not have any details on the location or the contents of the missing train.
The area where the train has allegedly been found is close to the German border and was used by the Nazis for making a series of tunnels.
It is not clear what the tunnels were to be used for, but as the nation collapsed towards the end of the Second World War, it is though a large number of looted gems, gold and other treasures was stashed there.
It is thought those who hid them, planned to return once things had calmed down.
After news of the claims originally broke last week, authorities in Poland warned other treasure hunters to be careful as the train may have been booby-trapped.
Ghost: Workers inspects gold bars taken from jews by the Nazi’s and stashed in the Heilbron Salt Mines
The train was allegedly found in Walbrzych but Jacek Cichura, the region’s governor, said a meeting had been held to work out how to safely handle it.
He said: “Our priority is the safety of the public.
“If the gold train actually exists, then it is probably mined. There is also the possibility of methane.”
Local authorities in Walbrzych were contacted a few days ago by a law firm representing a Pole and a German who said they had located the train and were seeking 10 percent of the value of the findings.
“Lawyers, the army, the police and the fire brigade are dealing with this,” Marika Tokarska, an official at the Walbrzych district council, told Reuters.
Haul: A US Soldier inspects bags of money and gold taken from Jews by the Nazis and stored in the Heilbron Salt Mines
“The area has never been excavated before and we don’t know what we might find.”Hulton Archive
Trains were indeed used to spirit Nazi loot back to Berlin as US-led Allied and Soviet forces surged towards the German capital from the west and the east in the winter and spring of 1945.
In the case of the so-called “Gold Train”, Nazi forces sent 24 freight carriages from Budapest towards Germany filled with family treasures including gold, silver and valuable paintings seized from Hungarian Jews and estimated to be worth up to $200 million.
The train was intercepted by U.S. soldiers, who, according to a later U.S. investigation, helped themselves to some of the loot.