Indian Railways said that two coaches of the Visakhapatnam-Palasa train derailed after it was hit by the Visakhapatnam-Rayagada Special at Kantakapalle in the Vizianagaram district at 7pm local time.
The first train was travelling from Visakhapatnam to Palasa in Andhra Pradesh while the second train was travelling from Vizianagaram to Rayagada in Odisha.
The authorities said there was a rear collision and the cause of the accident was probably human error.
“Overshooting of the signal by Visakhapatnam-Rayagada passenger train,” Indian Railways said.
“Rescue operations are under way by the divisional railway manager and his team on the spot.”
Relief trains have been sent and rescue equipment is on its way to the accident site.
The railway authorities did not confirm the number of injured or dead but media reports said about 20 people were injured and were sent to hospitals in Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram.
“We are currently focusing on the rescue operation. We are trying to shift the injured to nearby hospitals,” said Biswajit Sahoo, spokesman for East Coast Railway.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office said that he took stock of the situation after “the unfortunate train derailment between Allamanda and Kantakapalle section.”
“The Prime Minister extends condolences to the bereaved families and prays that the injured recover soon,” his office said on X, formerly Twitter.
“The Prime Minister has announced an ex gratia of 200,000 rupees ($2,400) from the PMNRF for the next of kin of each deceased due to the train derailment between Allamanda and Kantakapalle section.
"The injured would be given 50,000 rupees.”
The accident comes after a train derailed in the eastern state of Bihar on October 12, killing at least four people and injuring more than 70.
More than 300 people were killed and hundreds injured when two express passenger trains and one for freight collided, derailing a dozen coaches of the passenger trains in India’s eastern Odisha state in June this year, in one of the country's worst rail accidents.
India has the world's second-largest railway network. Millions of people travel on trains for daily commutes and longer journeys.
In recent years, safety standards have improved and the number of accidents has fallen. The government says it plans to invest nearly $130 billion to modernise the decades-old network.