Railway spokesman Alok Singh told CNN that six cars had slammed into the stationary freight train.
Officials also said the train's driver and assistant driver had been critically injured in the accident.
"My condolences to families of those who lost their lives in the Gorakhdham express tragedy. Prayers with the injured," he wrote.
"Spoke to the Cabinet Secretary. Asked him to take an overview of the situation & ensure timely assistance to those injured," he added.
India has one of the world's largest railroad networks, carrying 18 million passengers per day.