These startling images show an elephant escaping being hit by a train by a whisker - as it crosses the tracks perilously close to an oncoming train.

The image, taken by wildlife photographer Rupak Dastidar, shows the danger elephants in the Indian forest face after a train line was built that cuts straight through the forest.

Rupak, 29, said: 'The train track has turned out to be a graveyard for wild elephants with more than 90 of them being killed since the conversion took place.

'The tracks pass through a few national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserved forests having numerous corridors of wild animals like Indian Elephant and Indian Gaur.

'The frequency of accidents along the routes of Alipurduar and New jalpaiguri prompted forest officials and railways try and come up with solution, cutting speeds of trains to 50 kmph during the day and just 25kmph at night.

'The number of elephant deaths and injuries came down later that year, but despite the restriction trains continue to kill elephants.

'This photo illustrates the danger they face in their own homes.'

Two elephants were hit and killed by a passenger train at the end of last year in eastern India, officials said, with the animals' bodies decorated with flowers before being cremated at the spot.

In the past five years, at least 26 elephants have been killed and scores more injured by trains on the stretch of track near the Nepal border, according to wildlife officials.

Pictured: An adult elephant prepares to cross the track in an Indian forest. The new train tracks have been built to pass through national parks and reserved forests


The images show the danger elephants in the Indian forest face after a train line was built that cuts straight through the forest


Pictured: A group of elephants in the Indian forest congregate around the tracks as the train approaches


Pictured: An elephant crosses the train tracks in an Indian forest just moments after a train rushed along


Pictures Courtesy - 
Photographer Rupak Dastidar

News Courtesy - Daily Mail