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Off the rails: Hanoi closes railway cafés thronged by selfie-seeking tourists

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 Off the rails: Hanoi closes railway cafés thronged by selfie-seeking tourists
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Reuters
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Cafés along Hanoi's railway tracks are being closed for the safety of selfie-takers.

The century-old tracks that cut through the city's dusty backstreets, flanked by tourists drinking beer or iced tea mere inches from the slow-moving trains, have become a draw for tourists - and Instagram enthusiasts specifically.

Last Sunday a train had to make an emergency stop to avoid hitting a group of tourists and Vietnamese state media has reported that authorities have now said dozens of cafés must close by this weekend.

Built in 1902 during French colonial rule, the railway mostly carries passengers and cargo to and fro between Hanoi and the eastern city of Haiphong, as well as to the remote towns of Lang Son and Lao Cai, which lie along the mountainous border next to China.

Vietnam received 12.87 million foreign visitors in the first nine months of this year, up nearly 11 per cent on the year, government data shows.