Two explorers who used heavy equipment to dig at a site in southwestern Poland say they've not found any hidden train. Legend holds that a gold-laden train disappeared at the end of World War II.
A week after they said they were optimistic about finding the Nazi-era train, believed to be hidden underground near the Polish town of Walbrzych, a spokesman for the two explorers, Andreas Richter and Piotr Koper, said they've found "no train, no tunnel."
The German and the Pole began their excavation of an embankment near railway tracks on August 16 at a cost of 140,000 zlotys ($37,000 or 32,000 euros). But just a few days later, they decided to cover over the three six-meter (20-foot) pits they had dug.
Search to continue
Their spokesman Andrzej Gaik told The Associated Press a smaller-scale search would resume in September using probes.
Dubbed the "gold train," it was said to be carrying jewels, other treasure and guns looted by Nazis escaping from advancing Soviet forces in 1945.
According to folklore, the train was buried in a tunnel in the lower Silesia region between Wroclaw and Walbrzych. The tunnels under the Owl Mountains were part of a secret project known as "Riese" or Giant, which the Nazis never finished.
But despite some Polish officials supporting the treasure-hunting duo's quest, a team of Polish geology experts said last November they'd discovered no traces of the train when they examined the site with magnetic and gravitation equipment.
Professor Janusz Madej of Krakow's AGH University of Science and Technology said at the time he was "100 percent sure there is no train," although he conceded there "may be a tunnel."
Secret remains uncovered
The area belonged to Germany at the time but has been part of Poland since the borders were moved in the postwar settlement.
Thousands of ethnic Germans were removed from the area, leaving a sparsely populated region, which only ceased to be a military zone in the 1990s.
During the Soviet era, the Polish army carried out searches for the trains. While numerous pieces of art and other valuables stolen under the Nazi regime were recovered, many items are still missing.
Poland has claimed the Nazis stole over 516,000 of the country's individual art pieces said to be worth $20 billion (17.9 billion euros).
mm/jil, kl (AP, dpa)