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I'm missing rails and don't know where they have gone, they are out in the open with no roof or walls. This is SMP but it's a private unadvertised server that mostly I play alone. Is lightning a possible cause?

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Could Endermen have caused it? If an Enderman moved the tile the rail was on, I'm pretty sure it would kill the rail by association. –  Raven Dreamer Oct 4 '11 at 1:07
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That would leave a hole in the ground where the rail used to be, though. Still, Endermen could move pretty much any block in the 1.8 prerelease, rails included. –  Keaanu Oct 4 '11 at 1:18
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I suppose its possible they picked up the block and put it back down. I can't think of what else might cause rail disruption, short of creeper explosion; its definitely not lightning. –  Raven Dreamer Oct 4 '11 at 2:49
    
You can lose rails to water flow. A careless user may have poured a bucket, or an Enderman may have temporarily caused a water flow in the area. Alternatively, a user may have smashed the tracks when attempting to destroy a minecart on the tracks. –  Jonathan Drain Oct 4 '11 at 6:19
    
This is unlikely to be the cause because it happened long ago, but I know I lost a bunch of rails in the MCRegion conversion. Did you just update Minecraft from a really old version? –  agf Oct 5 '11 at 23:33

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

There are a lot of reasons as to why parts might be missing:

  1. Endermen
  2. You could have taken some away without knowing
  3. If anyone (say friends) has been on your server they might have taken them away
  4. It could be the "SMP" glitch where you lay them then they disappear and come back into your inventory.

You might think these are silly reasons but these are the only ways they could have disappeared. =)

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must have been the SMP glitch I think –  Maslow Nov 2 '11 at 22:02

Lightning can only destroy flammable blocks, and rails are not flammable.

This is more likely the cause of your problem:

Enderman

since Endermen have (until recently) been able to pick up and move most blocks, including rails.

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Until recently? What changed? –  John the Green Oct 4 '11 at 1:35
    
An update severely nerved the Enderman's block carrying abilities. Your structures are now safe! –  Nicholas1024 Oct 4 '11 at 1:38
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Though that's only likely if @Maslow played on the pre-release version of 1.8. –  Raven Dreamer Oct 4 '11 at 2:04
    
@Raven nope this is current 1.8.1, world was created when it was 1.8, and I'm running craftbukkit 0.0.1. Although it does seem to crash my SugarSync, perhaps they are fighting over who gets to update the file? –  Maslow Oct 4 '11 at 2:47
    
@Keaanu - so what if rails are placed on a flammable block? –  Maslow Oct 4 '11 at 2:48

I would also guess for endermen being the cause of your missing Rails. Until 1.8.x they were able to move most blocks of the game around.

So it is possible, that they take the block from under your rails and put it back, but the rails will drop. (this happened to me once)

From the 1.9 versions on, the endermen will only be able to take "light" blocks like sand or gravel, but not cobblestone, stone and other "heavy" materials. So it would save your rail if you place it on a cobblestone-path in versions 1.9-pre and up.

The full list of blocks an enderman can take in each version can be found on the minecraft-wiki: http://www.minecraftwiki.net/wiki/Enderman#Moving_blocks

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