At least nine people died and four were injured Wednesday when a fire broke out on board a train in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, authorities said.

The fire began very early in the morning near the city of Dahanu, in the Thane district, while travelers on board the Mumbai-Dehradun Express train were sleeping, Western Railways company spokesman Sharat Chandra told the local PTI news agency.

"The fire was seen at a crossing by a worker, who informed a train guard and the latter told the conductor, who stopped the vehicle," said the spokesman.

After the train was stopped, passengers were evacuated, the fire eventually was put out and rescue teams arrived on the scene to aid the victims, according to the daily The Times of India.

The cause of the blaze is not yet known, but authorities believe that the fire broke out in one of the cars and spread to two adjacent cars, quickly engulfing all three.

India has the most extensive railway network in the world and accidents of various kinds are common occurrences. EFE