Rail Mechanics

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There are a number of designs that any current or aspiring rail creator will need to know or find useful. This page details both vanilla Minecraft rail designs that are especially useful on civ servers, and civ-specific designs that utilise mechanics such as RailSwitch.

Single-tracked rails or double-tracked rails?

As a rail designer you must choose whether your rails should be a single track carrying traffic in both directions or a double track with each track carrying traffic in one direction. A single-tracked design means that players travelling in opposite directions on the same track will crash into each other and each bounce back in the opposite direction to that which they were going before, thus making AFK rail travel inadvisable. For this reason, a double-tracked design is usually preferred by rail builders, despite it having double the cost of single-tracked alternatives. However, single-tracked designs are still used on routes that are under construction before a double-tracked rail can be built, thus making the rail usable as quickly as possible.

A single-tracked rail. Carts travel in both directions on the same rail, making collisions likely.
A double-tracked rail with carts running on the right-hand side. Whether carts run on the left or right depends on how the rail is configured. The double tracks of this rail allow carts to pass each other in opposite directions safely.

Vanilla designs


An enforcer ensures that carts passing through it are travelling on the correct side of the track on double-tracked rails, thus "enforcing" the direction of the rail. This is especially useful where players embark on a rail in the middle of that rail, without knowing which side to embark on. Enforcers are often placed before and after junctions and stations to ensure that switches route players correctly, given that many switch designs will not function correctly if a player enters from the wrong side. The images below show enforcers that ensure carts move on the right-hand side. If you wish to ensure that carts run on the left-hand side you can simply flip the design.

A basic enforcer configured to keep carts moving on the right-hand side.
A chestcart-compatible enforcer configured to keep carts moving on the right-hand side.