A MAN has died after being hit by a train near Atherton station this morning.

Police and paramedics were called to Engine Lane, which runs alongside the railway from Atherton towards Tyldesley and Walkden, at 7.16am this morning after reports of a "body" on the track. 

A man, whose age has not been confirmed, was pronounced dead at the scene.

A spokesman for British Transport Police said: "We have yet to identify the man and inform his family.

"The incident is not being treated as suspicious and a file will be prepared for the coroner."

Earlier this morning, a Northern Rail spokesman said services between Salford Crescent and Hindley via Atherton were experiencing "major delays and disruption".

Trains were diverted via Bolton, with delays of up to 30 minutes between Salford Crescent, Wigan Wallgate and Wigan North Western, and replacement buses were in place between Hindley and Salford Crescent in both directions.

At 9.46am, National Rail confirmed trains are now running normally between Salford Crescent, Wigan Wallgate and Wigan North Western.

Tributes have also been paid on Twitter to the man who died.

The UK Railway Chaplains head office tweeted: “Today a train driver reported a body between Walkden and Atherton. Prayers for another family suffering bereavement, and the rail staff affected.”

Ian Lindley, a councillor for Walkden South, tweeted: “Sad news, a person has been hit by a train between Walkden and Atherton. All services disrupted at the moment.”