Riding on the train rooftop proved fatal for some young men on their way to an army recruitment board exam in Uttar Pradesh.
At least three men died while about 40 were injured late on Monday night after an overhanging tree branch swept away everyone riding on the train rooftop. The incident occurred near Sultanpur, about 140 km from in Lucknow.
While two men died on the spot after falling from the train top, one person succumbed to injuries later Tuesday.
The injured were admitted to a local medical college in Lucknow and Allahabad medical college. Of the 40 injured, four are seriously injured.
"Since most of them had boarded the train from Allahabad, they opted to be taken back to their hometown while only two injured critically were rushed to Lucknow," said a senior officer of the Northern Railway in Lucknow.
He said as the train was fully packed, a band of nearly 500 young men climbed atop the Saryu Express rooftop. "The practice is not uncommon in large parts of Uttar Pradesh," he added.
"Rooftop travel is illegal and we always make efforts to discourage people against such hazardous travel. But there is little one can do to physically prevent them from doing so, particularly in the non-electrified routes like this one.
"An old tree has some of its branches overhanging the railway tracks; every time a train goes by, the branches get quite close to the train top, so it is natural for anything atop a train to be swept away," the official said.
The victims were young military aspirants and were to appear before an army recruitment board in Faizabad on Tuesday.