According to authorities, the express passenger train was traveling at high speed and slammed into the cargo train sitting on the tracks near a railway station in the state of Uttar Pradesh on Monday.
The incident led to the derailment of six cars on the express train, officials said, adding that one coach for unreserved general seating took the brunt of the impact as it contained most of the 40 casualties.
“It has been reduced to a mangled iron mesh,” senior police officer Amrendra Sainger said.
Meanwhile, local police official, Zameer Ahmad, said most of the victims were farm workers going back to their homes from the neighboring state of Haryana.
He noted that the remote location of the incident made the immediate start of rescue operations difficult and by the time police and rail officials reached the scene “villagers and other passengers had moved the injured away.”
An investigation has been launched to find out the cause of the crash.
Train accidents are not uncommon in India as the nation has one of the world’s largest train networks, transporting about 20 million passengers each day. Most accidents are blamed on poor maintenance and human error.
Earlier in May, another train crash killed over a dozen people and injured three others in Uttar Pradesh.