BERLIN (Reuters) - Cologne Cathedral, one of Germany's most famous landmarks, has started to shudder from trains on a new underground line nearby and its ornate Gothic construct and cultural treasures may be in danger, church officials say.
Earthquake-measuring sensors indicate that vibrations felt by people inside the cathedral came from trains in tunnels which opened last month and run along one side of the building.
"It cannot be ruled out that these effects will cause long term damage to the building," Cathedral Provost Norbert Feldhoff said in a statement.
Cathedral officials agreed with transport and city representatives on Wednesday that the trains should reduce their speed when running under the imposing two-spired cathedral on bank of the River Rhine.
A working group was also set up to consider other measures to stop the shaking and noise, Feldhoff said.
Built between 1248 and 1880, the Cathedral was heavily damaged by Allied bombers during World War Two but stayed standing. One of Germany's most visited tourist attractions, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One of its most famous treasures is the Shrine of the Three Kings which is reputed to contain relics from the wise men who paid homage to Jesus after his birth.
The new train line in Cologne, Germany's fourth biggest city, has caused other problems. Two people died after the city's archive, containing thousands of historical records dating back 1,000 years, collapsed in 2009 due to construction work.
Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Angus MacSwan