By The Associated Press
WARSAW, Poland — Explorers in Poland began digging Tuesday for a legendary Nazi train said to be laden with treasure and armaments.
They're not dissuaded by decades of fruitless searches, a scientific determination that no train is there and warnings by historians that such a train might not even exist.
The search in southwestern Poland attests to the power of a local legend claiming a Nazi "gold train" disappeared in a mountain tunnel as the Germans escaped the advancing Soviet army at the end of World War II.
As the dig got underway, a yellow excavator moved earth along railroad tracks above the spot where two explorers —Andreas Richter, a German, and Piotr Koper, a Pole — believe the train is buried. Richter and Koper, joined by several other volunteers, expect the search to last several days.
The two men claimed last year to have located the elusive train with radar equipment deep in the bowels of the earth in the city of Walbrzych, sparking a gold rush to the castle city and the surrounding area.
A government official initially said he was "99 percent sure" the train was there, helping to feed the frenzy. The arrival of treasure hunters and curiosity seekers from across Europe gave a welcome financial boost to the coal mining region of Silesia, which has struggled since unprofitable mines in the area were closed after the fall of communism.
Late last year, geological experts from a university in Krakow, using magnetic equipment, found no train on the spot.
But the explorers refused to give up.
Andrzej Galik, a spokesman for the search team, said six independent companies using various radar devices have detected anomalies indicating the shape of a tunnel underground on an elevated area running along railroad tracks.
"The results of the ground-penetrating radar examinations are very promising," Galik said. "It's so exciting and we count on success."