Police in Sri Lanka say more than 50 people are feared dead and some 40 injured after a passenger train crashed into a commuter bus at a level-crossing in the centre of the country.

The early morning crash took place about 60km northeast of the capital, Colombo.

None of the passengers or crew on the crowded morning train were reported as injured.

The bus was reportedly trying to make its way past the barriers and cross the tracks when it was hit by the train.