Posts Tagged ‘Trains’

Nazi gold train’s existence revealed in deathbed confession

August 28th, 2015

Mr Zuchowski told a press conference on Friday that the dying man was involved the operation to hide the train 70 years ago. The identity of the man, and the two treasure hunters – believed to be a Pole and a German – who claimed the find last week has not been revealed, and remain part of the mystery still surrounding the train.

The minister said he is now “99 per cent” that the train has been found, after seeing photographs of an object taken with ground penetrating radar.

“This is unprecedented. The train is over 100 metres long, and is armoured. We do not what’s inside but its armour indicates it has a special cargo,” said Mr Zuchowski. “There is probably military equipment but also jewellery, works of art and archive documents which we knew existed, but never found.”

And the suggestion that the train carried stolen personal items, rather than solid gold blocks, has sparked a keen interest among specialists in returning looted property to their lawful owners.

“We are still very keen to establish the facts surrounding the content of this train, but certainly the discovery alone is of great interest,” said Mary Kate Cleary, Art Recovery Group’s research and due diligence director.

The entrance to the Riese tunnels where the treasure may have been found

“The Nazis engaged in a systematic campaign to loot works of art and cultural property from public and private collections in Europe with close to 80,000 objects confiscated in Poland alone. If even a fraction of that number can be recovered from this train then we could be witnessing one of the most significant finds in modern history.”

The authorities and the finders have kept the exact location of the train secret, owing to fears that it could be booby trapped and that any explosives on it could have become unstable, and so pose a danger to other treasure hunters who have reportedly descended on Walbrzych in the hope of getting to the train first.

Despite the news blackout on the location Radio Wroclaw, a radio station in southern Poland, claimed the train was located somewhere beside a four-kilometre stretch of the Wroclaw-Walbrzych main line near Walbrzych. This would tie in with one of the original rumours of a gold train, which said the Nazis had parked a locomotive with trucks in a tunnel off the main line and then concealed the entrance.

Although just what the train might have been carrying is still unclear, Mr Zuchowski said the two treasure hunters are in line for some kind of reward for their efforts.

“If it is confirmed, the train is carrying valuable items, the finders can expect a 10 per-cent finder’s fee, either in the form of a reward from the ministry or from the owners of the property,” said the vice minister. “Of course any items of value will be returned to their original owners, assuming we can find them.”

Ms Cleary, the art restitution expert, welcomed the Polish government’s promise of returning the items to their owners. She added that recovery operations of this scale require international cooperation.

“We encourage authorities to make public the details of any artworks, cultural property or archival documents so that we can begin efforts to identify and return them to their rightful owners,” she said.

Archaeologists have said that any excavation process could take months.

The tunnels are thought to be under Ksiaz Castle

Along with the fear of landmines, unstable explosives and booby traps the train could now be buried under tonnes of earth and rock.

Some historians have warned that it might also have been carrying secret supplies of chemical weapons.


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South West Trains scraps cut-price fare on VJ Day

August 17th, 2015

The decision not to run the special offer provoked anger, particularly after some drivers of black cabs in the capital waived fees for VJ Day veterans attending the day’s memorial.

Tony Groves, who travelled from Southampton to London Waterloo station on Saturday, complained the restrictions were unclear on South West’s website when viewed on a mobile phone:

Another customer, Steve Hallett, branded the train firm “scum of the earth”:

South West Trains said it “supported the Armed Forces community in a number of ways”, and said there were a number of events on its rail network on Saturday, including the England-France rugby match at Twickenham, which increased pressure on the service.

A company spokeswoman said: “It’s common during marketing promotions to have occasional days that are exempt from the offer and this can be due to a number of reasons. Our marketing of this particular offer clearly states any days that are not included in the promotion.

“Safety is our main priority. On days where there will be a large number of people using our network to attend special events, our experience is that encouraging even more people to travel through a price promotion can result in our services becoming severely overcrowded.

“We believe it makes more sense to encourage people to take advantage of our offers at slightly less busy times when they will be able to enjoy the experience more.”

There were an estimated 71,000 British and Commonwealth casualties of the war against Japan, including more than 12,000 prisoners of war who died in Japanese captivity.

More than 2.5 million Japanese military personnel and civilians are believed to have died during the war.


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