"The train had acquired speed and minutes later it crossed the station and just toppled," Hemant Bhalotia, whose 70-year-old  father died in the crash, said.

Rescue and medical teams from the Bhubaneswar headquarters of East Coast Railway were rushed to the accident site to help the more than 160 people injured, officials said.

Coaches overturned

"It was very dark and I could hear the shouts of many for help. There was utter chaos," Anupam Nayak, a survivor of the accident, said.

"We were fortunate as several coaches, including the one adjacent to ours, not only derailed but overturned."

The Press Trust of India news agency reported that Lalu Yadav, the railways minister, had ordered an inquiry into the accident as well as compensation for the injured and the families of the dead.

The railway system, one of the world's oldest and largest networks, is transporting at least 18.5 million people a day in India.

On Friday, Yadav said that the number of train accidents had decreased significantly during his time as minister, from 325 in 2003-2004 to 194 in 2007-8.