A cyclist has died in a Melbourne hospital after he toppled from his bike off a suburban railway platform and into the path of a diesel locomotive.

The accident happened at North Melbourne railway station, a major hub for suburban and country rail services, at 5.10pm (AEDT) on Monday, police said.

Despite desperate efforts by emergency crews, who used heavy haulage equipment to lift the locomotive off the man, he later died while in surgery at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Police said the man, 47, of north-west suburban Keilor Downs, was riding along platform five when he bumped into a commuter.

His bike veered towards the platform edge and he fell with it onto the tracks and into the path of the city-bound locomotive, which was leaving the platform.

Ambulance Victoria team manager John Crossman said he was trapped for more than 90 minutes until the locomotive was lifted off him.

The rescue was “one of the most complicated cases any of us would have seen”, Mr Crossman said, given the live overhead wires, the dangers under the locomotive and the hot, dirty environment.

Metropolitan Fire Brigade commander Terry Kimpton said crews went to extraordinary lengths to rescue the badly injured man.

“We had the heavy salvage rescue from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade come on board,” he told ABC Radio.

“When they’ve come on, they’ve had to actually try and get some super heavy lifting equipment.

“As you can imagine, a train of that magnitude, (a) 130-tonne train, is the heaviest type of locomotive that V/Line run.”

Crossman said the man lost a lot of blood when he was trapped under the train.

An emergency surgical crew was on site in case the badly injured man’s condition rapidly worsened once the weight of the locomotive was lifted from him, he said.

He was placed on a spinal board, slid from the front of the train and immediately placed in an induced coma.

“He was moved from the platform to the ambulance and subsequent to that his heart stopped beating for a period of time and it was necessary that CPR was commenced, and he was given additional drugs to try and keep him going.”

Police late Monday confirmed the man died in the operating room about 9pm.

There are no suspicious circumstances.

Police will prepare a report for the coroner.