updated 4/21/2005 12:17:57 AM ET 2005-04-21T04:17:57

A passenger train slammed into a parked cargo train in western India on Thursday, killing at least 24 people and leaving dozens more injured, a top official said.

The accident occurred in the morning when a passenger train coming from the Hindu pilgrimage city of Varanasi hit the cargo train in the Samlaya village station, about 15 miles north of the city of Baroda in western Gujarat state. It was not clear what caused the accident.

“It could be a signal failure or it could be human failure,” said Shailendra Kumar, a spokesman for India’s Western Railway.

“It’s a very serious accident,” said Kumar. “We are still removing dead and injured from three coaches.”

Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat state, told reporters that at least 24 people died in the accident and another 56 were injured.

India’s sprawling railway network, the world’s second largest, has poor safety standards and is plagued by accidents.

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