JODHPUR: A Delhi-bound express train derailed in the western Indian state of Rajasthan on Saturday, killing seven people and injuring around 26, police said.

Senior police officer Kiran Soni Gupta told AFP that seven people had died in the early morning accident outside the desert city of Jaipur.

All 15 carriages of the high-speed Mandore Express, connecting the city of Jodhpur and the capital, Delhi, jumped the tracks.

"Seven people have died and 26 passengers are injured," Gupta said. "The injured have been admitted to government hospital."

Rescuers, working with mechanical cutters and surrounded by a huge crowd of onlookers, were battling to free people trapped in three carriages that had overturned.

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 October, at least 22 people were killed and 17 injured when an express train ploughed into the back of another passenger train in northern India.

Past accidents have left hundreds dead.