The photos are all alike – young people, mostly girls, posing on rail tracks. It seems they are unaware of the immediate danger of death from a silently approaching high speed train or overhead live cables, the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung said.
The photos are often posted on Facebook, together with dramatic, emotional pledges such as “whatever happens, we'll walk along our path together.”
The trend has already claimed lives, police believe. Just weeks ago two girls were killed after being hit by a goods train in Lünen near Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia, wrote the paper.
Having ruled out a suicide pact, police said they had found a camera nearby the scene of the accident.
There had been other suspected cases, but as yet there were no definite figures of how many rail accidents had been a result of the pictures, Volker Stall from the Dortmund police department told the paper.
Police often give talks at schools warning of the dangers of playing on railway tracks, said Stall, but they could not rule out that by mentioning the photo trend they could be planting the idea in kids' heads in the first place.
Stall said it was up to parents to treat the matter very seriously if they had reason to suspect their kids are climbing onto the train tracks.
“Parents have to keep an eye on the kind of photos their children are posting on Facebook,” Stall told the newspaper.