A woman who was killed when hit by a train near Ashburton on Wednesday morning had earlier been involved in a police pursuit.

The woman died on the railway tracks about 10am in the small town of Tinwald.

Police have dismissed earlier reports that the woman had died after the car she was in hit a train.

The car was found ablaze when authorities arrived at the scene.

Inspector Dave Gaskin says the woman refused to pull over when police tried to stop her vehicle and a brief pursuit took place.

Police quickly abandoned the pursuit as it was considered unsafe to continue.

"The incident on the railway tracks appeared to have happened approximately 15 minutes after the pursuit," Insp Gaskin said.

The incident has been referred to the Independent Police Conduct Authority and coroner.

Media are reporting that members of the public contacted police early on Wednesday after becoming concerned by the woman's behaviour.

Insp Gaskin says no one else is being sought in connection to the death and police are in the process of identifying the woman and contacting next of kin.

A KiwiRail spokeswoman told NZ Newswire the freight train involved had been travelling from Dunedin to Christchurch.

NZ Newswire

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