At least 19 people were killed and 36 injured on Tuesday when a passenger train slammed into a stationary goods train in southern India, a local railway official told AFP.
The sleeper train collided with the parked goods train at Penneconda station in Andhra Pradesh state as it was travelling overnight to Bangalore, the information-technology hub and capital city of Karnataka state.
"At least 19 people, including two children, died when three coaches of the Hampi Express overturned following a collision with a goods train," G.K. Jalan, the railways' regional public relations officer, told AFP.
"We have just pulled out three bodies that were trapped inside the wreckage," Jalan said.
He added that 36 people had been injured, with those seriously hurt taken for treatment in three nearby hospitals.
Television footage from the scene showed mangled, upturned coaches with rescue workers carrying out injured passengers on stretchers by torchlight.
"It appears that the driver of the passenger train overshot a signal and hit the goods train, but we are awaiting the results of an inquiry," said Chandralekha Mukherjee, director for information at the railways ministry in New Delhi.
The collision also caused a fire in one carriage, which was extinguished quickly, she said.
Rescuers and medical officials worked through the early hours, using steel-cutters to hack through the twisted metal and extricate those trapped inside the overturned carriages.
"I am very sorry about the disaster management efforts," one survivor told the NDTV news channel. "These things keep on happening but precautions should be made and there should be more people to help."
The Press Trust of India news agency said that the driver of the train had survived the impact but was unconscious.
"Every life is precious. This is a very sad incident," said Railway Minister Mukul Roy who arrived at the site of the accident on Tuesday afternoon.
He promised compensation for the injured and families of the dead.
India's rail network is still the main form of long-distance travel in the country despite fierce competition from private airlines.
The last major train accident in India occurred in July last year when a packed express train travelling from Kolkata to New Delhi derailed at high speed in the state of Uttar Pradesh, killing 69 people.
India's worst rail accident was in 1981 when a train plunged into a river in the eastern state of Bihar, killing an estimated 800 people.