Railway in Russia
Xenia Ignatyeva went to a bridge in Krasnogvardeysky to take a selfie but lost her balance and died.Wikimedia Commons

A teenage girl fell to her death after trying to take a selfie from a railway bridge in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg.

Xenia Ignatyeva went to the bridge in Krasnogvardeysky to take a photograph of herself at night with the railway line in the background to give "the most dramatic effect".

But she fell and was electrocuted as she tried to grab some live cables.

Police fear she may still have been alive for a short while after she hit the ground.

Ignatyeva's distraught grandmother, Olga said: "The police said she wanted to take a snap of herself at night, to give it the most dramatic effect and with the railway line as a backdrop.

"She was taking it herself so she went up there on her own, a girlfriend was waiting below."

Her friend Oksana Zhankova, also 17, who was waiting for her, was said to be paralysed with shock. Emergency services found her crouched by her friend's body.

An anonymous caller alerted police saying children had been playing on the bridge.

Railway tracks around the world are becoming a popular backdrop with youngsters looking for extraordinary selfies to take.

Psychologist Martin Voigt, from Munich University, said: "We need to look at the deeper meaning of photos taken on railway tracks.

"The photo is not so much about the theme of it, but the component behind it - they play with danger."

He said some people taking selfies are driven by the desire to take the best in the world, and as a result are becoming more and more extreme.

Only recently foolish thrillseeker, Jared Frank was kicked in the head by a conductor after trying to achieve the world's dangerous selfie in front of a moving train on the Inca Trail in Peru.

The ridiculous video went viral with more than 4.5 million views on YouTube in just two days. It shows Frank falling to the ground, dazed from the kicking he had just received.

"I tried to take a selfie while a train passed a 'safe' distance behind," he wrote on his YouTube channel.

The growing trend of taking smartphone selfies has been linked to mental health conditions that focus on a person's obsession with looks.

According to psychiatrist Dr David Veale: "Two out of three of all the patients who come to see me with Body Dysmorphic Disorder since the rise of camera phones have a compulsion to repeatedly take selfies.

"Cognitive behavioural therapy is used to help a patient to recognise the reasons for his or her compulsive behaviour and then to learn how to moderate it."