The fire department received reports of a train hitting a pedestrian near the Berkeley and Albany border at 9:06 a.m., Berkeley fire Acting Deputy Chief Avery Webb said.
The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene, Webb said.
The victim, a man, had been walking south on the tracks and a southbound Union Pacific train heading from Roseville to Oakland struck him, Union Pacific spokesman Aaron Hunt said.
The train crew blew the train's horn and tried to stop, but freight trains typically take over a mile to stop and the train was not able to stop in time, Hunt said.
By the time the train came to a stop, it was blocking four streets -- Virginia, Cedar, Camelia and Gilman streets, Webb said. The streets were still blocked late this morning.
Trains in the area have been stopped in both directions, Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham said.
Although the train involved in the collision is from Union Pacific, the tracks are shared with Amtrak passenger trains, Graham said.
Amtrak set up a bus bridge to take passengers between the Richmond and Berkeley stations, Graham said.