Three elephants, including a calf, were mowed down and another was injured seriously, hit by a train between Binnaguri and Banarhat in Jalpaiguri district in north Bengal early on Thursday.

“We suspect that the Mahananda Express was travelling at a speed well above 50 km per hour permissible for trains passing through this region,” V.K. Sood, Chief Conservator of Forest, Wild Life (North), told The Hindu over telephone.

Several elephant corridors cut across the rail track passing through the forests of north Bengal. How best to avoid such collisions has been the subject of discussions between the Railways and forest and wildlife officials over the past few years. Besides elephants, gaurs and leopards had been fatally knocked down, officials said.

“Since 2004, when the rail lines in this section were converted from metre to broad gauge, 45 animals including 36 elephants have been killed,” Mr. Sood said. Eight elephants were run over and killed in the same area three years ago.