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Rail.pngRail track horizontal.pngRail track ne.pngRail track nw.pngRail track se.pngRail track sw.png




Blast resistance






Yes (64)



Catches fire from lava

Probably not



Data value

dec: 66 hex: 42 bin: 1000010

Namespaced ID


Duncan Geere Mojang avatar.png

Minecraft wouldn’t be Minecraft without mining. But getting in and out of your mine can be a pain. If you’re anything like me, you end up digging a long angled passage down to bedrock, involving a lot of hopping until you dig out enough cobble to put down some stairs. Even then it’s still a bit... pedestrian. But there’s another way. A better way. A faster way. A smoother way. A way where you get to shout “wheeeeeeeeeeeee” as the cave walls whizz past you. A railway.

Duncan Geere[1]

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


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

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

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.

Rails can be found in 78.4% of chest minecarts in Mineshafts in stacks of 4–8.


Ingredients Crafting recipe
Iron Ingot +



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.


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, the new rail orients itself as a straight north-south track.
  • 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, mine carts 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 produce 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 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 but normally they do not interact with the switched rail.

Minecart behavior[edit]

South-east rule[edit]

Track intersections.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 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 (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 chest, 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 need 7 powered rails.

Data values[edit]

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
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.
A rail that ascends towards the direction noted.
For example, an ascending_west rail is a straight rail that goes upwards from the east toward the west.


Icon Achievement In-game description Actual requirements (if different) Availability Xbox points earned Trophy type (PS)
Xbox PS Bedrock Nintendo
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 m from where you started. Distance is measured in a straight line.YesYesYesYes40GGold



Java Edition Infdev
June 18, 2010Rail Revision 1.pngRails were introduced in the first "Seecret Friday Update" to Infdev.
Java Edition Alpha
v1.2.0?Rail.pngTexture changed slightly.
Java Edition Beta
1.6?Before this update, parallel tracks would be used to create minecart boosters.
1.8Pre-releaseRails are found in the new abandoned mineshaft chests.
Java Edition
1.0.0Beta 1.9 PrereleaseRails are destroyed by snowfall (bug).
Beta 1.9 Prerelease 4Some rail behavior was affected following changing 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.
1.915w44aIncreased average yield from mineshaft chests by more than 20 times. Mobs no longer spawn on rails.
1.1116w32bAll rail types' hitbox heights are 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.
1.1418w43aTexture Update Rail.png Changed rail textures.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.8.0build 2Added rails.
0.9.0build 1Rails now naturally spawn in abandoned mineshafts.
0.14.0build 1rail now found in mineshaft chest
Pocket Edition
1.1.0alpha now generate in woodland mansions.
Bedrock Edition
1.4.0beta can now be placed underwater.
Legacy Console Edition
TU1CU11.0Patch 1Added rails.
New Nintendo 3DS Edition
0.1.0Added Rails.


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


  • When walking on a block that has a rail on top, the player hear the sound of the block they are walking on, but if they jump (while still walking), they hear the sound of iron.
  • Rails are 750 mm (approx. 2-foot 5-inch) narrow gauge. (The gauge is the distance between the rails.)


See also[edit]