A train employee was also killed in the incident.
Forest and wildlife officials quickly slammed the train operators for failing to heed warnings that the animals might be crossing the tracks at the time the crash occurred.
An East Coast Railway official refuted the allegation, saying they received the warning only about the exact time that the accident occurred.
The train was traveling to the Bay of Bengal coastal city of Chennai when it struck the elephants, including one calf, in a fog bank near the Ganjam district.
A local forest official said the animals that were killed, along with 20 other elephants, had recently migrated from a sanctuary and had been seen roaming in the area after splitting into groups.
State Forest Minister Bijayshree Routray said officials had erected fluorescent "elephant crossing zone" signs across a stretch of several miles.
“Despite all this, such a tragedy took place,” Routray told reporters.
Photo: Times of India - Press Trust of India