The train rammed into the animal near the Buxa nature reserve in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district. The elephant died on the spot from the impact of the collision.
Police arrested a number of passengers who got out of the train with the intention of taking away the tusks. Train services were disrupted for some time after the accident.
India is home to around 25,000 Asian elephants but their numbers are dwindling mainly due to poaching and the destruction of their habitats by human populations.