MATHURA, India, (AFP) - A Delhi-bound Indian express ploughed into the back of another passenger train near the Taj Mahal town of Agra early Wednesday, killing 22 and injuring 17, police said. Senior police officer Vijay Kumar told AFP that 22 had died in the early morning crash on tracks outside the town of Mathura, 50km north of Agra. The death toll has risen to 22 and the number of injured is 17, he said by telephone. They (the injured) have been admitted to local hospitals. Rescuers, working with mechanical cutters amid a huge crowd of onlookers, battled to free people trapped in the badly mangled carriage that bore the brunt of the collision. Local railway manager Rajendra Dutt Tripathi said a train travelling from the southern state of Goa to New Delhi had run into the back of the stationary Mewar Express, an overnight service from western Rajasthan to the capital. The force of the impact was such that the engine of the Goa train ended lodged inside the last carriage of the other express. Bloodied bodies and people were pulled from the wreckage before being ferried to hospitals by ambulance. Tripathi said initial reports suggested the Mewar Express was at a standstill because a passenger had pulled the emergency chain and the driver of the Goa express had overlooked a signal requesting him to stop. These are a matter of investigation and a final conclusion can only be reached after a detailed inquiry, he said. The Mehar Express, minus the damaged carriages, was later seen arriving in Delhi as cranes were called in to remove debris from the site of the accident. There was a loud bang and we were suddenly thrown out of our seats, a passenger told the Press Trust of India news agency. People and luggage from the upper berths fell on us and there was panic everywhere, he said. A resident of Kota in Rajasthan, Saurabh Jain, who was also in the Mewar Express, said rescue teams took more than an hour to arrive. The injured were wailing. There was no ambulance to ferry them to the nearest medical centres till about 6:45am, he told the Press Trust of India. RD Vajpayee, chief spokesman for northern railways, said that the company would pay Rs500,000 ($10,800) to the families of the dead. The state-run railway system still the main form of long-distance travel in India despite fierce competition from new private airlines carries 18.5 million people daily. There are 300 accidents on the railways every year. In February, at least 16 people were killed and 60 injured when 12 carriages of a passenger train derailed in eastern India. Past accidents have left hundreds dead. In 2002, 100 were killed and 150 hurt when a carriage plunged into a river in the northeastern state of Bihar, while in 1995 more than 300 died in a collision near Ferozabad, again near Agra.