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Rail corner.png

Non-Solid Block







Blast resistance





This block can be broken with any tool, but a pickaxe is the quickest




Yes (64)



First appearance

Infdev (June 18, 2010)



Data value

dec: 66 hex: 42 bin: 1000010



Rails (also known as minecart tracks) are non-solid blocks that provide a path along which minecarts can travel. Powered rails, detector rails and activator rails are variations with special properties. Rails can be placed on top of opaque blocks, and will automatically orient themselves to connect with any adjacent rails.


Rails can be mined with any tool, or without a tool, but pickaxes are the quickest.

Block Hardness Tool Breaking time (seconds)
Hand Wooden Stone Iron Diamond Golden Shears Sword

1.05 0.525 0.2625 0.175 0.1312 0.0875

Natural generation[edit]

Rails can be found naturally in abandoned mine shafts. They can also be found inside the minecart with chests there in stacks of 4 to 8.


Ingredients Crafting recipe

Iron Ingot +

Iron Ingot
Iron Ingot Grid layout Arrow (small).png Rail16
Iron Ingot Stick Iron Ingot
Iron Ingot
Iron Ingot


If a track is placed next to an existing track, the two tracks will join automatically. If a track is placed perpendicular to an existing length of track, then the track connecting them will turn into a curve. However, destroying track will not cause remaining track to re-orient itself.

If a track leads up to a one-block high ledge, the piece placed up against the ledge will turn into a ramp if another track is placed on top of the ledge.

Minecarts that encounter a series of curved tracks in an alternating, zig-zag pattern will travel in a straight line at 45 degrees until the track straightens out or curves in the same direction twice (u-turn), but it will still lose speed as though it were going through a series of bends.

The curved section of a rail at T intersections can be powered by redstone circuits and their direction can change with switches provided there is no confusion about the 2 directions to switch to. Separate tracks laid adjacent but at the next level lower or higher can sometimes cause issues. Since there are no formal rail junctions, switched T intersections are the only method by which the player can have a track system that leads in more directions than back and forth. In rare cases, curved track sections will not change appearance when their direction is changed. If a track switching mechanism seems to be inexplicably broken, test it by running a cart on the track rather than by looking at how the track appears to be oriented. Redstone circuits will not affect normal track blocks or track ramps.

If water flows against a track, it will remove it and drop the track as a resource, similar to torches. Lava will also remove tracks, but the resource will nearly always also be destroyed by falling into the lava.

By placing a detector rail as the input of a T Flip-Flop latch, you can make a togglable turn every time a minecart travels over the rail. This can be very useful to divide minecarts evenly between two or more tracks if there is a large number coming in.

Rail collision[edit]

When a cart is traveling on a curve, it will momentarily lose collision prior to exiting the curve. Therefore, if a block is placed directly after the curve instead of a track piece, the cart will phase through it. This can be used to kill players by suffocation, by making a 2x1x2 block on the rail after the corner. The best way to free yourself is to use a pickaxe, but the mining time is a bit longer than normal. This can be utilized to make minecarts seemingly appear from nothing, by making a hole underneath. It should be noted that since minecarts travel diagonally on curves, it can miss the hole if it has enough speed, by skipping over it, if the hole is 1x1. This can be avoided by blocking the sides. It is not recommended to use this method in rapid succession, as the cart will slow down a lot. Anyone sitting in the cart will likely be subject to suffocation.

South-east rule[edit]

Track intersections.png

At non-curve track intersections, minecarts will always travel south or east (as shown in the diagram to the left). This is commonly referred to as the South-East rule.

This rule also applies to T-intersections, and determine which way the curve from the intersection will face when unpowered. You can use this to orient yourself.

Downhill rule[edit]

Downhill rule.png

At non-curve track intersections minecarts will always travel downhill if they can. This is known as the downhill rule and overrides the south-east rule.

Ramp clearance/one-way effect[edit]

2011-10-10 21.54.31.png

A block placed above the track at the downhill end of a ramp will prevent minecarts from traveling down the slope, but not up.

  • In order for a minecart to move down a diagonal tunnel, there must be just as much clearance as a player needs to walk it.
  • This effect can be used to allow minecarts to travel in only one direction, preventing runaway carts from going back into launching mechanisms and jamming them up.

Curve intersections[edit]

A diagram on how minecarts travel according to track curves.

If a straight track piece leads to a curve block and isn't attached to the curve, a Minecart will run over the gap and continue to go straight over the curve. This is not applicable with other types of rails.

Notably, the minecart can exceed the normal 8 m/s speed limit while it jumps over the gap. For example, by placing intersections on every other block of a straight track, it is possible to travel at 10 m/s in a straight direction (but it will be a very uncomfortable ride).

Data values[edit]

Every rail has a ID name of minecraft:rail and stores its orientation in its block data. A rail also has a block state which is expected to replace the functionality of block data in a future version.

Block data[edit]

A rail's block data specifies the directions to which it connects.

Value Description
0 Straight rail connecting to the north and south.
1 Straight rail connecting to the east and west.
2 Sloped rail ascending to the east.
3 Sloped rail ascending to the west.
4 Sloped rail ascending to the north.
5 Sloped rail ascending to the south.
6 Curved rail connecting to the south and east.
7 Curved rail connecting to the south and west.
8 Curved rail connecting to the north and west.
9 Curved rail connecting to the north and east.

Block state[edit]

See also: Block states
Name Value Description


Specifies the rail's orientation.

For example, a south_east rail is a curved rail which connects to the south and to the east.



Seecret Friday 1 Rails were introduced in the first "Seecret Friday Update" to Infdev.
1.5_01 In this update and earlier, if sand or gravel fell onto minecart tracks with at least one block of air between the falling sand/gravel and the track block the sand/gravel appeared as a collectible resource above the track. This was useful if the player are hollowing out a space underground and break through into a pocket of gravel or sand above. If you "carpet" the floor with minecart track then the falling gravel or sand will not require subsequent digging out and neither will it smother you provided you are standing on track. This technique is particularly useful in desert biome areas with large sand overhangs or sand roofed caverns can be encountered. However, this trick also works with torches, signs, and ladders, which makes this a very expensive alternative (alternatively, it is more practical than signs and ladders, as being able to carpet a large area with either of these calls for more of them than you are likely to have. If the player is carrying rail, it's usually for building a rail link, which means the player will have a lot of it.)
1.6 Before this update, parallel tracks could be used to create minecart boosters.
Official release
1.0.0 Beta 1.9-pre1 Rails are destroyed by snowfall (bug).
Beta 1.9-pre4 The cardinal directions changed to indicate north to be the top of an in game map instead of east making this rule's name now the South-East rule.
1.3.1 12w25a Rails can now be placed on upside-down slabs and stairs.
1.5 13w04a Mobs no longer walk over rails unless they are pursuing the player.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.8.0 build 2 Added rails.
0.9.0 build 1 Rails now naturally spawn in abandoned mine shafts.
Console Edition
TU1 Added rails.


Issues relating to "Rail" are maintained on the issue tracker. Report issues there.


An example of the "floating rails" bug in an abandoned mineshaft.
  • Players may place rails only on a block. However, it is possible to find floating rails in an abandoned mine shaft.
  • There is a glitch where in a track sloping downwards with a curved intersection, when approached from the side, will teleport the player under the block, trapping the player until they destroy the track and block.
  • If traveling a distance of 50 blocks it takes an average of 12 seconds to walk, 9.3 seconds to sprint (as much as possible) and 10.6 seconds by minecart. But if traveling the route over and over (e.g. mining) it is worthwhile investing in a railway system for ease of use.
  • If you need to travel very long distances in the Overworld, it is best to build a railway system in the Nether. Not only will you use many fewer rails, you will travel much faster relatively to the Overworld (up to 64 m/s or 230 km/h in a straight line, or up to 325 km/h diagonally).
  • When walking on a block that has a rail on top, you will hear the sound of the block you're walking on, but if you jump (while still walking), you will hear the sound of iron.
  • Rails are approximately 2-foot gauge (the gauge is the distance between the rails).


See also[edit]