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I've still fairly new to Minecraft but absolutely love it. I'm learning about the carts and have a nice track setup with several powered rails but is there a way I can start a cart while already inside? I've read about ways to make stations and choose tracks with buttons but I'd like to a) get in the cart, then push something to activate travel and b) have stops along my track that will by off by default, and if those aren't my final destination, I could press something to keep going.

What are the best solutions/alternatives?

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3 Answers 3

This is a variation on @KevinY's answer; with the major difference being the stations:

The design for the end station is fairly well defined, and mostly invariant:

Any minecart end station

When it comes to stations in the middle of the track, however; there are two basic approaches; @KevinY's proposal, a rise station; and the similar but distinct dip station:

A minecart dip station

Which station you choose can vary on a number of factors; they both perform the same task, and both do it well, but the dip station has a couple of convenient attributes:

  • When using only one button, access to this button is somewhat easier to achieve with a dip station.

  • Dip stations in tunnels require no extra headroom when compared to rise stations.

  • Dip stations do not require detector rails

  • While there is a risk of getting turned around due to high speed; the risk of completely overshooting the station is smaller than with the rise station as proposed by Kevin. (This may or may not be what you want).

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Does the one button pulse last long enough for your cart to pass both powered rails without a monostable circuit? If it does, it's probably a better solution than mine (for a two-way system at least). –  Kevin Y Jul 8 '11 at 14:58
    
@Kevin Y, I've had no problem with four-track sections being powered by a button (all level ground). Just tested further, and six tracks works fine, seven loses most velocity, eight stops. –  Cyclops Jul 8 '11 at 15:56
    
I just verified myself and it seems to work fine - I guess I should stop underestimating buttons. Anyways, +1 because I like your two-way station design better. :) –  Kevin Y Jul 8 '11 at 16:07
    
I've tried this dip solution but the issue is that the cart doesn't slow down fast enough to remain on the first dip - it begins slowing and comes to a rest on the opposite slope, meaning it heads off the other direction when activated. –  BotskoNet Jul 10 '11 at 0:20
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@BotskoNet: As an alternative to adding blocks, try to make sure that the nearest booster is some distance away. –  Williham Totland Jul 15 '11 at 20:41
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The easiest and least complex solution would probably be something like this.

This would be the first "station" in your minecart transit system. To use it, you would place a minecart on the unpowered piece of track and get in. From there, you can press the button, and because the button is technically occupying the block right next to the rail, it will power it, launching you to the right.

The reason this works is because there is a block directly next to the minecart when it is placed down, and powering the powered rail will start the minecart. You will notice that if you were to remove the block and press the button, nothing would happen. This is because the minecart "doesn't know which direction to go". This is important to note when building stations based on powered rails.

enter image description here

At a stop, you could simply do something like this. It is identical to your first station, except for the button being placed differently. Your minecart will stop on the unpowered sloped rail because powered rails act like a brake when unpowered. However, if the button is placed where it was on the initial station, it is hard to press due to being on a slope, so you have to raise it up and use wire to connect it to the rail. If it's your station, you can get out of the minecart; if you want to continue to the next stop, just press the button.

enter image description here

This can be modified into a two-way station though the use of detector rails. This is what your middle stops could like like in a two-way transit system:

enter image description here

If you are approaching the station from the left, your cart activated the detector rail, turning the unpowered track on, and stopping you on the right side of the block (and of course, vice versa coming the other direction). However, if you approach the station too quickly using this technique, your minecart won't stop properly and it will touch the second detector rail, powering the rail you are supposed to stop on, and you'll keep on going. Just don't go overboard with the powered rails.

Williham Totland came up with an even simpler two-way station by using a dip instead of a rise, which I now prefer.

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A simpler variety of the station is to have a dip instead of a rise; where a single button activates both rails. No detector rails needed; and the button will generally stay on long enough to let you pass both boosters. (Note that a series of boosters before either design will make you overshoot the station completely due to too high velocity.) –  Williham Totland Jul 8 '11 at 9:05
    
Keep in mind that, as OpenTTD teaches, as soon as your rails have more than one user you really want your tracks to be as single way as possible. –  badp Jul 8 '11 at 10:53
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@badp: The student asked the master: Why is there no simple way to build two-way stations in Minecraft? And the master pointed the student to OpenTTD, and the student was enlightened. –  Williham Totland Jul 8 '11 at 11:05
    
For those who are lacking in enlightenment (such as myself): OpenTTD is an open source simulation game based upon the popular Microprose game "Transport Tycoon Deluxe". And I have to say - Wow. It looks amazing. Monorail? Maglev? –  Cyclops Jul 8 '11 at 12:11
    
@Cyclops: Way to stay on topic, there. ;) (And yes, it is amazing.) –  Williham Totland Jul 8 '11 at 13:43
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SInce version 1.3.1 minecarts can be moved slowly by using the movement keys. You can place a minecart on a powered rail and press W and it will move forward, enough for the rail to start boosting it.

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