A speeding passenger train crashed into another waiting at a station in eastern India early on Monday, killing at least 60 people and injuring about 100, officials said.
This was the second major accident in the state of West Bengal within two months.
Officials said foul play in Monday's incident was unlikely, although Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said an investigation was under way to find out how both trains came to be on the same track.
Some television channels quoted unnamed railway officials as saying "tampering" with signals could not be ruled out.
The accident occurred when the Uttar Banga Express rammed into the stationary Vananchal Express at Sainthia in West Bengal, said Saumitra Mohan, the area's district magistrate.
"The death toll has gone up to 60," Samir Goswami, a railway spokesman, said. "It looks like this is the final toll. There are also several seriously injured undergoing treatment in hospitals."
The impact of the crash saw several coaches thrown upwards in a mangled heap. Thousands of people milled around the accident site. Some helped in rescue operations.
Television images showed rescue workers cutting through the wreckage to pull out survivors. Some passengers were seen climbing out of emergency exit windows.
"It was dark, maybe around 2:15 a.m. (2045 GMT), and people were crying for help. One coach was flung onto an over-bridge under the impact," Sandip Kumar Mondal, among the earliest to reach the spot and rescue some people, told Reuters.
With a 63,327-kilometre (39,350 mile) network, the railways play a key role in Indian life, transporting more than 18 million passengers and more than 2 million tonnes of freight daily.
But the system is plagued by overcrowding and outdated technology. Every day, about 8 million passengers cram onto commuter trains in the financial hub of Mumbai, with roughly a dozen fatalities daily.
ReutersGüncelleme Tarihi: 19 Temmuz 2010, 11:55