Tourists risk their lives posing for selfies on a train track in Hanoi in Vietnam

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Tourists looking for the perfect Instagram snap have been spotted posing for selfies – and even lying down – on the tracks of a working railway line.

In the heart of Hanoi’s busy Old Quarter in Vietnam, the French-built tracks are lined with cafes serving hot coffee and cold beer – and are overrun with visitors.

Although the track is picturesque, it is also perilous as the tracks are still in use and most days visitors must scramble for safety as the daily train rumbles through the narrow streets.

A group of tourists wearing brightly coloured dresses pose on the tracks of a working train line in Hanoi's busy Old Quarter 

A group of tourists wearing brightly coloured dresses pose on the tracks of a working train line in Hanoi's busy Old Quarter 

A group of tourists wearing brightly coloured dresses pose on the tracks of a working train line in Hanoi’s busy Old Quarter 

Although the track is picturesque, it is also perilous as the tracks are still in use by a daily train that rumbles along the narrow street 

Although the track is picturesque, it is also perilous as the tracks are still in use by a daily train that rumbles along the narrow street 

Although the track is picturesque, it is also perilous as the tracks are still in use by a daily train that rumbles along the narrow street 

Visitors scramble for safety when the train comes rolling along the tracks. When it does, everyone takes a snap of it

Visitors scramble for safety when the train comes rolling along the tracks. When it does, everyone takes a snap of it

Visitors scramble for safety when the train comes rolling along the tracks. When it does, everyone takes a snap of it

But for many, the thrill of dodging a speedy train is part of the appeal.

‘It was amazing but scary in the same sense, a little bit overwhelming being so close to the train,’ Australian tourist Michelle Richards told AFP.

The tracks were first built by former colonial rulers France, which used the railway to transport goods and people across Vietnam, then part of Indochina, along with Laos and Cambodia.

During the Vietnam War, parts of the railway were badly damaged by American bombs that rained down on the communist-ruled north.

Today the original metre-gauge tracks are still a mode of transport for tourists and travellers seeking a cheaper option.

The tracks were first built by former colonial rulers France, which used the railway to transport goods and people across Vietnam. Pictured is a visitor lying across the tracks in a quirky pose

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The tracks were first built by former colonial rulers France, which used the railway to transport goods and people across Vietnam. Pictured is a visitor lying across the tracks in a quirky pose

The tracks were first built by former colonial rulers France, which used the railway to transport goods and people across Vietnam. Pictured is a visitor lying across the tracks in a quirky pose

Hemmed in by houses and cafes, the tracks offer a unique charm for budding travel photographers

Hemmed in by houses and cafes, the tracks offer a unique charm for budding travel photographers

Hemmed in by houses and cafes, the tracks offer a unique charm for budding travel photographers

But in the past few years, visitors to Hanoi have seized upon their photographic possibilities.

Hemmed in by houses and cafes, the tracks offer a unique charm for budding travel photographers and a business opportunity for makeshift cafe owners who have set up shop.

Hong Kong tourist Edward Tsim said: ‘It’s got a really weird charm. You’ve got flowers from the balcony coming down, you’ve got buildings which are very old and close to each other.

The original metre-gauge tracks are still a mode of transport for tourists and travellers seeking a cheaper option

The original metre-gauge tracks are still a mode of transport for tourists and travellers seeking a cheaper option

The original metre-gauge tracks are still a mode of transport for tourists and travellers seeking a cheaper option

'It was amazing but scary in the same sense, a little bit overwhelming being so close to the train,' Australian tourist Michelle Richards said

'It was amazing but scary in the same sense, a little bit overwhelming being so close to the train,' Australian tourist Michelle Richards said

‘It was amazing but scary in the same sense, a little bit overwhelming being so close to the train,’ Australian tourist Michelle Richards said

Hong Kong tourist Edward Tsim said: 'It's got a really weird charm. You've got flowers from the balcony coming down, you've got buildings which are very old and close to each other' 

Hong Kong tourist Edward Tsim said: 'It's got a really weird charm. You've got flowers from the balcony coming down, you've got buildings which are very old and close to each other' 

Hong Kong tourist Edward Tsim said: ‘It’s got a really weird charm. You’ve got flowers from the balcony coming down, you’ve got buildings which are very old and close to each other’ 

‘You see people here living close to the train tracks.’

As the train rumbles into view, everyone clears the tracks and pulls their phones out to capture the scene.

‘It felt like waiting for Christmas… and when it arrived, wow, it was something else,’ British tourist Paul Hardiman said.

‘Well worth the wait.’


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