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Rail

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Rail
Rail (NS).pngRail (EW).pngRail (NE).pngRail (ES).pngRail (SW).pngRail (NW).png
Renewable

Yes

Stackable

Yes (64)

Tool

Blast resistance

0.7

Hardness

0.7

Luminant

No

Transparent

Yes

Flammable

No

Catches fire from lava

No

Rails are non-solid blocks that provide a path along which minecarts can travel.

Obtaining[edit]

Breaking[edit]

Rails can be mined with anything, but pickaxes are the quickest.

Block Rail
Hardness 0.7
Tool
Breaking time[note 1]
Default 1.05
Wooden 0.55
Stone 0.3
Iron 0.2
Diamond 0.15
Netherite 0.15
Golden 0.1
  1. Times are for unenchanted tools in seconds. For more information, see Breaking § Speed.

A rail also drops as an item when the block beneath it is removed, water or lava flows over it,‌[Java Edition only] or a piston moves it into a space with no floor below it.

Natural generation[edit]

Rails can be found naturally running along the floors of abandoned mineshafts and in woodland mansions.

Chest loot[edit]

Item Structure Container Quantity Chance
Java Edition
Rails Mineshaft Chest 4–8 78.4%
Bedrock Edition
Rails Mineshaft Chest 4–8 78.4%

Crafting[edit]

Ingredients Crafting recipe
Iron Ingot +
Stick

16

Usage[edit]

A rail can be used as a minecart track and as a redstone component. A sequence of rails (including regular rails, activator rails, detector rails, and powered rails) is called a track.

Placement[edit]

To place a rail, use a rail item while pointing at a surface facing the space the rail should occupy. A rail can be placed on:

A rail cannot be attached to the side or bottom of any block, but attempting to make such an attachment may cause the rail to attach to the top of a block under the destination space. For example, if a fence is on the ground, attempting to attach a rail to the side of the fence causes the rail to be attached to the top of the ground next to the fence instead.

More information regarding placement on transparent blocks can be found at Opacity/Placement.

A placed rail configures itself to be straight or curved according to rail blocks around it.

  • If there are no other rails adjacent, or if placed beside an existing stretch of track of any type, then in Bedrock Edition the new rail orients itself as a straight north–south track, and in Java Edition the new rail orients itself in the direction the player is facing.
  • A new rail placed at the end of an existing stretch of track continues the existing track in the same direction, either east–west or north–south.
  • If there are two adjacent rails on its level, or one level up or down, the newly placed rail configures itself as straight or curved as needed to connect the other two.
  • If placed between three adjacent rails (forming a T-junction) the newly placed rail configures itself as curved to join two of the sides.

Existing tracks one block up and down are considered for adjacency in the same manner, and the new piece of track gets laid as a curve, but unless space is left for sloping track sections, minecarts can continue past the curve only on level or one-block-down corners. In one-block-up corners, the cart ends up buried in the ground.

Some placement of rails produces track layouts that cause minecarts to collide and enter blocks.

  • If placed to form a 4-way intersection with no curved section, it does not form a cross-roads connection.
  • If placed between four adjacent rails to form a curved intersection it always curves south-to-east.

Existing sections of track may be re-oriented, become sloping, or even change into curved sections when the new rail is placed adjacent to it:

  • An existing straight, north-south rail re-orients to east-west when a new rail is placed at the east or west sides.
  • If placed next to an existing rail that is one block up or down, the new rail slants up or down to join it. Rail "prefers", in order: west, east, south, and north. Other configurations can be created by placing and removing rails.
  • If a track is placed perpendicular to an existing length of track, it appears as a straight rail, but in fact, it is curved according to the patterns for tee junctions as seen above; mine carts going through the intersection turn the corner. Breaking and re-laying track so that the intersection block is laid last causes intersection block to be updated as a curved section.

Redstone component[edit]

The intersection rail at a T-intersection may be made to change its direction of curvature by applying redstone power using a redstone torch or lever.

Separate tracks laid adjacent, but at the next level lower or higher can sometimes cause issues. However, normally they do not interact with the switched rail.

Minecart behavior[edit]

South-east rule[edit]

Track intersections.png
T-intersection-south-west.png

A minecart travels straight through a T-shaped intersection when entering from the "back of" the curved rail. It follows the curve when entering from either of the other two legs.

A minecart passes straight through a 4-way intersection constructed to have no curved rail. When entering the 4-way from east or west a cart turns according to the south-east rule.

Downhill rule[edit]

Downhill rule.png

At non-curve track intersections, minecarts 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]

Minecart Block Passing Effect.png

A block placed above the track at the downhill end of a ramp prevents minecarts from traveling down the slope, but not up. For a minecart to move down a diagonal tunnel, there must be clearance sufficient for a player to walk it.

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 runs over the gap and continue to go straight over the curve. This is not applicable to 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 (uncomfortably) at 10 m/s in a straight direction.

As with straight T-intersections and 4-way intersections, the practice of making a minecart jump tracks can be used to make one-way entries onto a track. On curve intersections the behavior is more intuitive, because the cart simply proceeds in the direction it is already going, allowing designs that don't rely on knowledge of the south-east rule.

Rail performance[edit]

A minecart with no rider at full speed can climb 10 blocks on unpowered track. This suggests that a powered track is needed at a height of only 10 blocks to keep a cart climbing. However, the cart slows so much that it can reach only another 5 blocks high with 2 lengths of powered track starting at 9 blocks high. The minimum number of powered rails to keep the cart climbing is 3 every 6 blocks.

Carts with a rider, or minecarts with chests, have more momentum and so climb higher than carts that are unloaded. With a rider, a minecart can climb at least 24 blocks before needing powered rails to go higher. Also, to ascend from 0 to max speed, the player needs 7 powered rails.

Sounds[edit]

Java Edition:

SoundSubtitleSourceDescriptionNamespaced IDTranslation keyVolumePitchAttenuation distance
Block brokenBlocksBreaking the blockblock.metal.breaksubtitles.block.generic.break1.01.216
None[sound 1]BlocksFalling on the block with fall damageblock.metal.fallNone[sound 1]0.51.2516
Block breakingBlocksMining the blockblock.metal.hitsubtitles.block.generic.hit0.250.7516
Block placedBlocksPlacing the blockblock.metal.placesubtitles.block.generic.place1.01.216
FootstepsBlocksWalking on the blockblock.metal.stepsubtitles.block.generic.footsteps0.151.516

Bedrock Edition: [needs in-game testing]

SoundDescriptionNamespaced IDVolumePitch
?Breaking the blockdig.metal? 1.2
?Falling on the block with fall damagefall.metal? ?
?Mining the blockhit.metal? 0.75
?Jumping from the blockjump.metal? ?
?Falling on the block without fall damageland.metal? ?
?Walking on the blockstep.metal? ?
?Placing the blockuse.metal? 1.2

Data values[edit]

ID[edit]

Java Edition:

NameNamespaced IDItem tags (JE)Translation key
Railrail railsblock.minecraft.rail

Bedrock Edition:

NameNamespaced IDNumeric ID Translation key
Railrail 66tile.rail.name

Block data[edit]

In Bedrock Edition, 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 states[edit]

Java Edition:

Name Default value Allowed values Description
shapenorth_south east_west
north_east
north_south
north_west
south_east
south_west
The two directions a rail connects to.
For example, a south_east rail is a curved rail that connects to the south and to the east.
ascending_east
ascending_north
ascending_south
ascending_west
A rail that ascends toward the direction noted.
For example, an ascending_west rail is a straight rail that goes upward from the east toward the west.

Bedrock Edition:

Name Default value Allowed values Description
rail_direction0 0
1
2
3
4
5
The rail is not ascending.
6
7
8
9
A rail ascends.

Achievements[edit]

Icon Achievement In-game description Actual requirements (if different) Gamerscore earned Trophy type (PS)
On A RailTravel by minecart to a point at least 500m in a single direction from where you started.Travel by minecart to a point at least 500 blocks from where the player started. Distance is measured in a straight line.40GGold

Video[edit]

History[edit]

Java Edition Infdev
June 18, 2010Rail Revision 1.png Added rails in the first "Seecret Friday Update" to Infdev.
?Sloped rails are being dropped if the block on the side was destroyed.
Java Edition Alpha
v1.2.0?Rail Revision 2.png The textures of rails and curved rails have been changed slightly.
Java Edition Beta
1.6?Before this update, parallel tracks would be used to create minecart boosters.
1.8Pre-releaseRails are now found in the new mineshaft chests.
Java Edition
1.0.0Beta 1.9 PrereleaseRails are now destroyed by snowfall (bug).
Beta 1.9 Prerelease 4Some rail behavior is now affected following the change of the south-west rule to south-east rule.
1.3.112w25aRails can now be placed on upside-down slabs and stairs.
1.513w04aMobs no longer walk over rails, if they are not currently standing on one.
1.915w44aThe average yield from mineshaft chests has been increased by more than 20 times.
Mobs no longer spawn on rails.
1.1116w32bAll rail types' hitbox heights have been decreased from a full block to a half block.
16w39aRails now generate in woodland mansions.
1.1317w47aPrior to The Flattening, this block's numeral ID was 66.
1.1418w43aRail (NS).png The texture of rails has been changed.
19w12bRails can now be placed on glass, ice, glowstone and sea lantern.
1.1519w39aPlacing a new, unconnected section of rails now orients them in the direction the player is facing, rather than always north-south.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.8.0build 2Rail Revision 2.png Added rails.
0.9.0build 1Rails now generate in abandoned mineshafts.
0.14.0build 1Rails can now be found in mineshaft chests.
Pocket Edition
1.1.0alpha 1.1.0.0Rails now generate in woodland mansions.
Bedrock Edition
1.4.0beta 1.2.20.1Rails can now be placed underwater.
1.10.0beta 1.10.0.3Rail (NS).png The texture of rails has been changed.
Legacy Console Edition
TU1CU11.0Patch 11.0.1Rail Revision 2.png Added rails.
1.90Rail (NS).png The texture of rails has been changed.
New Nintendo 3DS Edition
0.1.0Rail Revision 2.png Added rails.

Issues[edit]

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

Trivia[edit]

  • When walking on a block that has a rail on top, the player hears the sound of the block they are walking on, but if they jump (while still walking), they hear the sound of iron.[1]
  • Rails are 750 mm (approx. 2-foot 5-inch) narrow gauge (the gauge is the distance between the rails).
  • Mobs can't walk across rails.
  • A chest of rails has a total length of 64 × 27 = 1728 meters, which is slightly more than 1 mile (1.074 miles, 0.933 nautical miles).
  • Rails do not touch the block they are placed on. The flat texture can actually be seen to hover over their supporting block.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]