The collision occurred at a station near the town of Penukonda, 170 km north of Bangalore.
A passenger train collided with a freight train stopped and burst into flames. Forty injured were hospitalized, including a dozen in critical condition, according to the head of the local police Charu Sinha.
Rescuers worked six hours to extract some 70 survivors. The lead car caught fire and 16 passengers perished in the fire, said Mr. Sinha.
The train driver activated the emergency brake system, which caused the derailment of four cars, according to authorities, who ordered an investigation into the accident.
Women and children among the victims, but these are mostly construction workers left the cities of Bellary and Hospet to Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka State, according to the police official Harinath Reddy .