Radar image reveals what may be fabled Nazi treasure train

WALBRZYCH, Poland -- Imagine it's 1945 ... a train pulls in and soldiers load it up with chests of Nazi gold. It's a myth so powerful here in southwest Poland that history buffs staged a re-enactment recently.

In reality, amateur treasure hunters Andrei Richter and Piotr Koper believe they have found a mysterious Nazi train.

It lies, they say, 25 feet underground by the main railway line on the outskirts of the town of Walbrzych.

Journalists visit underground tunnels, which are part of the Nazi Germany "Riese" construction project, under the Ksiaz castle in an area where a Nazi train is believed to be, in Walbrzych, southwestern Poland September 3, 2015. KACPER PEMPEL, REUTERS

Koper and Richter think that the Nazis actually built a spur of railway line into a trench in the bank and once they'd driven the train in there, they removed all traces of the track.

The Nazis did occupy this part of Poland during World War Two and had to retreat in a hurry -- as the Soviet Army advanced in 1945. It Is possible the Germans wanted to hide something from the Russians.

Richter and Koper's ground-penetrating radar machine produced an image that looks like a train cars with a cargo not of gold, but of tanks.

FILE - This file photo from March.2012, shows a part of a subterranean system built by Nazi Germany in what is today Gluszyca-Osowka, Poland. According to Polish lore, a Nazi train loaded with gold, and weapons vanished into a mountain at the end of World War II, as the Germans fled the Soviet advance. Now two men claim they know the location of the mystery train and are demanding 10 percent of its value in exchange for revealing its location. (AP Photo,str) AP

The Polish government has gone ahead and had the site cleared.

Now the army is checking for Nazi booby traps. What's next? No one knows, though Richter and Koper are hoping it's not a bust -- but a bonanza.

When asked how much they hoped to make, Koper answered, "Five to eight million dollars, our finders fee."

That's probably a long shot, and yet, some money is already flowing into the region from tourists who'd love to see a Nazi train, but for now will happily settle for a myth.

  • Elizabeth Palmer

    Elizabeth Palmer has been a CBS News correspondent since August 2000. She has been based in London since late 2003, after having been based in Moscow (2000-03). Palmer reports primarily for the "CBS Evening News."