Making a Minecraft Mine Cart Train System: A Work in Progress

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

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This post is on my world building adventures in the sandbox game Minecraft. To browse all other posts in the category click here.

I’ve spent far to much time exploring and building in Minecraft. I recently began an epic enterprise of connecting all my bases with high speed trains because it was taking too long to walk between all of them. This video was my inspiration:

But in order to get into the rail business, I need wood and iron, and lots of both. Trees were felled, mines were dug deeper and deeper. Iron ore deposits are fairly rare, so it takes a lot of chipping away and exploring to find them. The cave systems under my world are vast, treacherous, dark, interconnected and full of resources. As soon as I start to get familiar with them, I discover a new section and get lost again.

Digging resources requires resources: sticks and stone (or refined iron ore, or diamond!) to make pickaxes. Sticks and coal are needed to make torches so you can see. I have used hundreds of torches and worn through pickaxes in the double digits just to dig out the mines.

Most of my rail lines rest on the old elevated pedestrians walkways I built between bases. The main line runs from the Old Fort base, through my Spawn base, and up to the Citadel in New Krabi. I use the booster cart system (which is a bug/glitch) to make propelled trains in Minecraft. This works by using dummy carts that boost the passenger cart when it touches.

The boost track runs a short length next to the passenger track. The passenger cart descends a slope of one block and into the boost cart. Both carts are propelled forward at maximum speed. The boost cart rides up a short hill, hits a wall and slides back into place ready to boost again. The passenger cart travels forward for hundreds of blocks.

My stations are laid out so that I can re-boost the mine cart the whole length of the line. I have re-boosters at the Spawn base and at the boat house of New Krabi. Since track is resource intensive to make, the line isn’t a loop. To go in reverse, the cart is boosted in the opposite direction. Since the cart shares the same tracks, I have to get the cart to jump tracks in the middle booster stations so it can get fed past a booster going in the opposite direction. This is why the stations look so ugly and complicated.

Eventually, I hope to expand the tracks into new, undiscovered lands. Waterfall Valley is next. After that, the world is unexplored.


My world in Minecraft so far. Click to embiggen so you can actually read the labels. The rail lines are noted in yellow and are built on top of what used to be pedestrian walkways. The current lines are: The Old Fort Line which runs between the Old Fort and Spawn Base; The Krabi/Citadel Line which runs between the Spawn Base and The Citadel atop New Krabi Mountain. That station and the Old Fort station can be traveled to without switching trains. From Spawn Base, there is a spur line to the Mega Shaft Mine. Eventually this spur will turn into a full loop to Bunker and Old Fort. There is an underground line that runs from Old Fort underground to the bowels of the earth. An new line is planned to run from The Citadel to Waterfall Valley.

Looking up at the newly refurbished and towering Old Fort. Added: extra rooms, observation tower, ceilings, train station, mine train, waterfalls, new beach, and food gardens. In the foreground is the old high road that now supports the tracks. The track on the left will eventually go to the bunker and form a loop with the Mine Spur.

Looking into the main floor of Old Fort.

The mine cart station at Old Fort. Two lines can get propelled out using a single booster car. The line on the right is unfinished. Under this station is the beginning of the Old Mine Line.

Looking south from the top of the observation tower.

What was once a dirt quarry has been converted into an irrigated wheat garden.

The small wheat garden.

The cart to the Old Mine Line.

The terminus to the Old Mine Line, with booster cart to get me back to the surface quickly.

Looking down the massive Mega Mine shaft. It took many pickaxes to dig, and it bores through a massive network of confusing and lava filled caves.

Looking up from the bottom of the shaft.

One of the many hundreds of caves I’m exploring at the base of the shaft.

The track switching mechanism at Spawn Base station. I designed it so the mine cart gets boosted going from either direction.

The tracks leading over the Bay of Pointlessness towards New Krabi.

Sun setting as the Citadel looms ahead.

A looping section of track climbs a lot of height in minimal space. This is the home stretch before the Citadel station.

Looking over darkness of Waterfall Valley. I already laid the support for the new train line. I just need to craft enough track to get over here. This valley is gorgeous in the daytime, with tall cliffs, waterfalls, and plenty of space to develop. Currently, I just have a little outpost at will soon be a train station.

The Citadel looks out over the darkness.

Coming back towards Spawn Base.

Old Fort, a beacon of civilization in the lonely landscape.

When the moon hits your eye, that’s a Minecraft!

Some say Minecraft is like crack, “Minecrack” if you will. But I think it’s even worse. This game is like giving an addict the tools to make his own crack.

Check you later nerds, I need to score some more ore!

Find Minecraft at http://www.minecraft.net/

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