Two children have narrowly avoided injury after almost being struck by a train this evening.

Emergency services were called to an incident at Ashburton's Walnut Ave train station at 7.40.

The children ran across the level crossing as a train was passing, narrowly avoiding injury.

The barrier arm was down, the bells were on and lights were flashing.

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The train's driver has been relieved of his duties due to the stress of the incident. He will be offered counselling.

KiwiRail have reminded pedestrians at rail crossings to always wait for flashing lights and bells to stop, and for the barriers to lift, before crossing the tracks.

Trains travel a lot faster than they appear, it said, and they take a long time to stop, even after the emergency brake is applied.