Part of Maunganui Rd has been closed by police.
A motorist told the Bay of Plenty Times that police had closed the road at the Hull Rd intersection and were preventing traffic from turning into the street.
She said it appeared as though something had been spilled on the train tracks.
There were three police cars at the scene and KiwiRail was also on site.
A police spokeswoman said about 4pm police were told a freight train had dropped a load of coal, which spilled on the tracks.
Some of the coal appeared to have spilled on to the road but traffic was able to travel around it, she said.
However, a cleanup would take place at 6pm and the road would need to close temporarily.