Three female elephants aged 12, 18 and 25 were killed while they were hit by the Mangalore-Chennai Express at Mahendramedu near Navakkarai in Coimbatore district.
The incident occurred on Friday night.
The elephants were hit while they were crossing the railway track near Marappalam thottam on A-Line between Walayar and Madukkarai sections.
One elephant was found on the track while two others seem to be thrown off the track and on the ground below. The loco pilot stopped the train and informed the Palakkad division of Southern Railway to alert the forest department.
The train was stopped for a couple of hours at Walayar with the passengers and resumed it journey later.
Sunil Menon, an environmentalist and wildlife student from Palakkad told IANS, “The railways should give guidelines to its loco pilots on the probable areas where the elephant herds are likely to cross the track and forest department can provide valuable inputs regarding this. It is really unfortunate that three elephants died like this and there has to be a proper understanding between the Union environment and forest ministry and the Indian Railways regarding this across the country.”