Wails and cries of people filled the air as friends and relatives frantically looked for their near and dear ones.
"The tragedy is heart-wrenching", he tweeted.
When it reached Joda Bazaar it crushed people who had gathered on the railway track to watch the burning of the effigies of Kumbhkarna, Meghnaad, and Ravana on the occasion of Dussehra. "The priority now is to take the injured to the hospital", Amritsar city police commissioner S. S. Srivastava told reporters.
At least 60 people were admitted to hospital with injuries, the police officer in the control room said, after what he called a "freak accident" given that people did not hear the train approaching amid the din of festivities and fireworks.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh Badal directed Home Secretary, Health Secretary and ADGP Law and Order to immediately rush to Amritsar.
Some of the eyewitnesses said that the event was organised by the Congress party and was attended by Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu's wife Navjot Kaur.
President Ram Nath Kovind offered condolences. Thirty bodies had been removed from the site by Friday evening as relief work was being hampered by nightfall.
He also announced ex-gratia compensation to the kin of the deceased. Singh himself will visit Amritsar on Saturday. "District authorities have been mobilised on war footing". The trip is now cancelled.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that he Centre is ready to provide all necessary help to the Punjab government at this hour of grief. Speaking to Zee News, eyewitnesses blamed the administration for not taking adequate precautionary measures. "They are rushing to the spot".