Police believe a man was listening to his headphones when he was struck and killed by a train in New Plymouth yesterday.

The 27-year-old was killed just after 1pm near Weymouth St while walking on the city's popular coastal walkway.

Senior Constable Darren Hayes says the man's family say he was known to listen to his music loudly while using the walkway.

He says witnesses say it was a tragic accident, because he didn't appear to notice the train despite its horn sounding several times.