Primary schoolchildren were taken within metres of a high speed train travelling at 125mph on a blind bend today by transport police.

The shock tactic was designed to deliver a dramatic message about the dangers of playing near to railway lines.

About 20 pupils at St Vincent's RC Primary School in Nechells, located adjacent to the Lichfield line, donned high visibility jackets and ear protectors before being led down to the track edge.

The project, arranged by British Transport Police (BTP), aimed to show youngsters what could happen in real life if they were to trespass on to railway lines.

Sgt Christopher Hodgkiss, of BTP's neighbourhood policing team Birmingham, said: "Children and young people often lack empathy and have little understanding of the consequence of their actions.

"Children assume that they will be able to see and dodge the train if they play on the lines but in reality, they would not see the train until it is too late to get out of the way.

"As a result of their visit, we hope that the children will realise that the only indication that a train is coming will be a slight tingle in the lines, then just two seconds later the train will race past.

"The force of the train passing will cause a gushing wind that will knock the children slightly off balance. By taking the pupils line side, they will experience the destructive power of the train for themselves."

More than 14,000 incidents of trespassing on railway lines and 15,551 cases of vandalism were reported nationally in the 2006/07 financial year according to BTP.

There were nearly 4,000 incidents of missiles being thrown on to railway tracks and more than 500 cases in which lives were put at risk.