Fourteen carriages of the Indore-Patna Express derailed just after 03:00 local time on Sunday (21:30 GMT Saturday) near the city of Kanpur.
Rescuers are still trying to reach the injured and recover the dead from the twisted carriages. The cause of the crash near the village of Pukhrayan is not yet known.
However, the Times of India quoted sources as saying a fracture in the track could have been to blame. The death toll has been rising steadily all day and is expected to increase further. Krishna Keshav, who was travelling on the train, told that
“We woke with a jolt at around 3am. Several coaches were derailed, everybody was in shock. I saw several bodies and injured people.”
Most of the victims were located in two carriages near the engine which overturned and were badly damaged.
By late Sunday afternoon, rescue workers were still using heavy machinery to try to reach survivors.
Senior railway official Pratap Rai told Reuters: “We are using every tactic to save lives but it’s very difficult to cut the metal carriages.”