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So water ladders, booster carts and boat elevators have now been broken in the 1.6 update - I need to find a quick way to get back to the surface after a long mining session!

Given that my shaft is 15x15 in size, what is the most efficient usage of tracks for a minecart system to transport me to the surface? I'm assuming that just running a track round the outside of this will be the most wasteful method, and that the fastest will be to make a tight spiral out of booster track (although this will be wasteful in terms of booster track needed).

What layout will give me the most speed / shortest travel time for the least amount of track used?

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I'm not a Minecraft player yet - but from observation aren't track corners always flat? And doesn't the track go up by one block per block across? If so, I'd say around the edge is best, it will minimise the number of times you have to stop climbing for a corner, and since you need the same horizontal distance of climbing track regardless of how you build it, I'd say that is the primary goal here. –  DMA57361 May 27 '11 at 12:02
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@bwarner Not a duplicate. This is how to maximize resources for a specific track purpose. It could probably use a retitling to reflect its track-resource-centric nature. –  SevenSidedDie May 27 '11 at 13:11
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Good idea @Seven, how's that? –  DMA57361 May 27 '11 at 13:35
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@DMA Muchly awesome. –  SevenSidedDie May 27 '11 at 13:44
    
My preferred method is to make long diagonal shafts, rather than straight-down shafts, when doing a mining expedition. However...I am pretty weird in this regard. –  Zibbobz Mar 19 at 13:43
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4 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

A larger spiral is most efficient, as you'll have less turns (you can't go up and turn) per straight track piece. For the tightest spiral, 3x3, the number of turns/straight is 1, so you'll only be climbing 50% of the time. With a 15x15 spiral, you'll only need four turns to climb 60 units. This means you can use less booster pieces at the base of each straight section to maintain maximum speed up the spiral.

As for the ratio of booster/normal pieces required to maintain maximum speed up the spiral that shouldn't be too hard to work out with trail and error.

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If you have the gold/redstone to spare, a powered track every other block will keep you at maximum speed for the entire climb.

If gold/redstone expense is a concern, the ratio of powered/regular rails will depend on whether you plan to have unoccupied carts climb the track. If this is the case, two powered rails every 8 blocks will ensure all carts can make it to the top. If you only have occupied carts going up, then one powered rail every 10 blocks should get the carts to the top. Keep in mind this will go much slower, but may still be faster than ladders (your other option for going up/down, now that boat elevators no longer work). Of course, minecart rails have the added benefit of being able to send storage carts up/down too!

I'd also like to note that switches are cheaper resource-wise (stick+cobblestone) than redstone torches (stick+redstone dust) and power rails just as effectively! They can also be switched off and on without breaking/replacing!

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You can do better than a powered track every other block in 1.6. AFAIK 1 in 4 should be ok, as they are twice as powerful. –  fredley May 27 '11 at 15:09
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a minecart elevator would be more effective.

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=2mmftzcJC68&vq=medium

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consider explaining your answer in case the link goes down. –  Marco Geertsma Jun 14 '13 at 13:24
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Have you considered minecart or boat elevators? Or stairs (interesting theory, but it works!). If sprinting, you can go as fast as the minecart, plus you can go up and turn at the same time. Minecarts/boat elevators have been proven to be faster and more cost-efficient (in some designs). As for walking, its great if you have an excess amount of pork chops or chicken, or even watermelon.

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