Witnesses also said that Friday's ceremony was delayed by a few hours because the chief guest was running late, which meant the event ultimately coincided with the train's scheduled arrival.
He said the gate man was 400 metres away at a level crossing.
Children are said to be amongst the dead.
The accident comes days after five people died and around 35 injured after five coaches and the engine of the New Farakka Express derailed near Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh on October 12.
"He informed the station master at Amritsar about the train hitting the crowd immediately after the accident", he said.
Witnesses told media outlets that as crowds spilled onto the train tracks, the booming of fireworks and the general celebratory din may have masked the sound of the oncoming train. He also said that if the driver had applied emergency brakes, there could have been a bigger tragedy.
The Government Railway Police on Saturday registered a case against unknown persons in connection with the accident.
But federal junior minister for Indian Railways ruled out any punitive action against his staff, including the driver, saying the national carrier was not at fault.
At least 60 people were admitted to hospital with injuries, police officials said.
However, two trains arrived from the opposite direction at the same time giving little opportunity to people to escape, they said.
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh called off a trip to Israel and rushed to visit the injured in hospital, where he ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.
The Punjab Police, on their part, have clarified that conditional permission was granted for events at 20 places including Dhobi Ghat.
The Railways maintain that they are not responsible for the tragedy, citing people were trespassing on the tracks.
Singh also announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the families of all the victims as well as declared that the Punjab government will bear all the medical costs.
Sources said that the driver claimed that he was given green signal and all clear and had no idea that hundreds of people were standing on the tracks when the train crossed the area.
MOST victims of Friday's train accident at Jora Phaatak in Amritsar lived, or live, in colonies near the tracks.
Clothes were strewn and there was blood around the narrow railway lane on the outskirts of Amritsar where the accident occurred.
Most people in the affected families were small-time laborers, wood polish workers, sanitary workers, gardeners, painters, etc - a lot of them migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, settled in Punjab for decades.
Neither the organisers nor the police administration had barricaded the tracks to stop people from venturing onto them, preliminary investigations have revealed.
Railway minister Piyush Goyal returned early from a trip to the United States to go to Amritsar on Saturday.
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