When two men claimed to have located a legendary Nazi train in Poland, they captured the imaginations of would-be treasure hunters around the world. The so-called ghost train is said to contain millions of dollars worth of gold and other valuables. Although Polish officials downplayed the likelihood that a lost Nazi ghost train exists, and treasure hunters have been warned to stay away, a sudden, unexplained fire in the vicinity may only draw more attention to the site.
The search for the Nazi train is centered around a hilly, wooded area near Walbrzych, Poland, where the tracks of the modern Wroclaw-Walbryzych train line pass over an embankment of particular interest. Since the prevailing theory is that the lost train, which is purported to be nearly 500 feet long, was sealed up inside a secret Nazi tunnel, many treasure seekers believe that it may be located beneath the embankment.
When the embankment in question suddenly burst into flames, the mystery only grew deeper. Local firefighters rushed to the scene, and the combined efforts of five fire engines were required to contain the blaze. The embankment, and a total of 219 square yards of surrounding woods, went up in smoke by the time all was said and done.
The Telegraph reports that local firefighters claimed they were “almost certain it was not arson.” However, new information may change that early assessment of the situation, and the fact is that the area has been inundated by foreign gold-seekers, history buffs, and even interested locals. According to a report by CBS This Morning, some have even shown up with ground-penetrating radar, which they believe will help locate the Nazi gold train.
Tomasz Smolarz, the provincial governor of Lower Silesia, which is where the search for the lost Nazi train is centered, warned that both police and railway guards had been dispatched to block unauthorized personnel from entering the area.
At a press conference held on Monday, Smolarz also went on to downplay the likelihood a “Nazi gold train” had been located, stating that the new evidence is “not any stronger than similar claims made in past decades.”
Even before the unexplained blaze erupted in the woods outside Walbryzch, safety was of paramount concern for local authorities. Sky News reports that, according to police spokeswoman Magdalena Koroscik, a large number of locals have joined the Nazi train hunt, or simply entered the woods out of curiosity, creating a public safety hazard.
“Half of Walbrzych’s residents and other people are going treasure hunting or just for walks to see the site. We are worried for their security. People walking down the tracks can’t escape a train that emerges from behind the rocks at 70 km/h.”
Attempts to keep people out of the woods are unlikely to succeed, as the promise of finding millions of dollars worth of gold in a lost Nazi train is simply too great a draw. Although one man was reportedly nearly struck by a train as he attempted to take a selfie, others have had near-misses as they walked the train tracks with metal detectors, and the sudden and unexplained blaze in the area has heightened concerns further, treasure seekers continue to flood the area.
[Photo by Lilly M, via Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]