The accident took place at around 7 pm at Tarbahar Sirgitti crossing, said Superintendent of Police, Ajay Yadav, Bilaspur.
"The victims were crossing the tracks when the mishap took place at a spot near Tarbahar area of the town on the Mumbai-Howrah rail route," said IG (Railway) RK Devangan.
He further said that the gates at the crossing closed down as two trains were approaching from parallel tracks and atleast 20 people were present at the scenario. They stepped onto other track to save themselves from the train approaching from the adjacent side but were run over by other train.
In a bid to check the victims, the waiting crowds on the station surged forward not knowing that another train was on its way killing several people, he said.
"The exact casualty figures are not clear. It could be anywhere between 15 and 18," said Yadav.
"It was a local train travelling from Bilaspur to Raipur," said railway spokesperson Sabtosh Kumar. He put the casualty figure at 16.
The angry mob in a fit of fury threatened to burn down the rail property and train engine.
"We have appealed to local leaders to help us calm down the mob," said Railway spokesperson, Sabtosh Kumar.