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An activator rail is a type of rail that can "activate" certain minecarts.


Activator rails can be crafted and previously-placed activator rails can be broken with bare hands or any tool, dropping themselves as items.


An activator rail can be broken with any tool, dropping itself as an item, but a pickaxe is fastest. To break an activator rail, mine it:

Block Rails
Hardness 0.7
Breaking time[note 1]
Hand 1.05
Wooden 0.55
Stone 0.3
Iron 0.2
Diamond 0.15
Golden 0.1
  1. Times are for unenchanted tools in seconds. For more information, see Haste § Instant mining.

An activator rail will also be removed and drop itself as an item:

  • if the block beneath it is moved, removed, or destroyed
  • if water flows into the activator rail's space
  • if a piston tries to move it vertically, or if there is no block beneath it at the new position after a horizontal move

If lava flows into an activator rail's space, the activator rail will be destroyed without dropping itself as an item.


Ingredients Crafting recipe
Iron Ingot +
Stick +
Redstone Torch


Natural generation[]

Activator rails can be found in 27.1% of chest minecarts in Mineshafts in stacks of 1–4.


An activator rail can be used as a rail and as a redstone component.

To place an activator rail, use an activator rail item while pointing at a surface facing the space the activator rail should occupy. An activator rail can be placed on:

  • the top of any full solid opaque block (stone, dirt, blocks of gold, etc.), including full-block mechanism components (command blocks, dispensers, droppers, note blocks, and redstone lamps)
  • the top of a hopper, upside-down slab, or upside-down stairs.

An activator rail cannot be attached to the side or bottom of any block, but attempting to make such an attachment may cause the activator rail to attach to the top of a block under the destination space. For example, if a fence is on the ground, attempting to attach an activator rail to the side of the fence will cause the activator rail to be attached to the top of the ground next to the fence instead.

When placed, an activator rail will configure itself to line up with any adjacent rails (including detector rails, powered rails, and other activator rails), as well as adjacent rails one block up. If there are two adjacent rails on non-opposite sides, or three or more adjacent rails, an activator rail will line up in the east-west direction. If there are no adjacent rails, an activator rail will line up in the north-south direction (but if a rail is later placed to the east or west, the activator rail will re-orient itself in the east-west direction even if it is already connected to another rail to the north or south). If a rail it would line up with is one block up, an activator rail will slant upwards towards it (with multiple options to slant upwards to, an activator rail "prefers", in order: west, east, south, and north). Other configurations can be created by placing and removing various rails.


Activator rails (and other rails) can be used as "roads" for minecarts. A minecart that enters an activator rail's space from either end of the activator rail will continue to move, losing only a little velocity (which can then be increased again with powered rails). A minecart that enters an activator rail's space from the side will turn east or south (depending on the activator rail's orientation), or in the downward direction for a slanted activator rail.

Redstone component[]

See also: Redstone circuit

Activator rails can be used to affect minecarts that travel over them.

An activator rail is a redstone mechanism and can be activated by:
  • an adjacent active power component (for example, a redstone torch, a block of redstone, a daylight sensor, etc.)
  • an adjacent powered block (strongly-powered or weakly-powered)
  • a powered redstone comparator or redstone repeater facing the activator rail
  • powered redstone dust configured to point at the activator rail, or a directionless "dot" next to it; an activator rail is not activated by adjacent powered redstone dust which is configured to point in another direction.
An activated activator rail will also activate any adjacent activator rails it is connected to, up to eight away from the original activation source. Thus a single activation source can activate up to 17 rails (one original in the middle and eight on either side). An activated activator rail will not activate adjacent rails which it is not connected to.
An activator rail will affect minecarts above it with varying effects. The effects occur as soon as any part of the minecart is on the activator rail.
An active activator rail will:
  • eject mobs (including players) from minecarts as if a player had used the sneak control to exit the minecart (by default, one block to the right of the direction the minecart is moving and up to two blocks up, unless blocked)
  • repeatedly activate command block minecarts — a command block minecart will execute its command every game tick until the command block minecart is no longer on the activator rail
  • disable hopper minecarts — a disabled hopper minecart will not pick up items it travels through until it is enabled by an inactive activator rail (or until it is broken and re-placed)
  • prime TNT minecarts — primed TNT minecarts will explode after one second with an explosive power proportional to their speed over the activator rail.
An inactive activator rail will:
  • enable hopper minecarts — an enabled hopper minecart will pick up items it travels through until it is disabled by an active activator rail.

Data values[]

An activator rail has a numeric ID of 157 in the PC edition, and 126 in the Pocket Edition.

An activator rail has the ID name minecraft:activator_rail and is further defined by its block data. An activator rail also has a block state which is expected to replace the functionality of block data in a future version.

Block data[]

See also: Data values

An activator rail's block data stores its orientation and activation status:

Bits Values

A three-bit field storing a value from 0 to 5:

  • 0: flat track going north-south
  • 1: flat track going west-east
  • 2: sloped track ascending to the east
  • 3: sloped track ascending to the west
  • 4: sloped track ascending to the north
  • 5: sloped track ascending to the south
0x8 Set if rail is active.

Block state[]

See also: Block states
Name Value Description
True if rail is activated.
Specifies the rail's orientation.
A rail that ascends towards the direction noted.
For example, an ascending_west rail is a straight rail which goes upwards from the east towards the west.



Official release
1.513w02aAdded activator rail.
13w02bChanged crafting recipe to include sticks and redstone torch. Previously, It only requires 6 iron ingots vertically at the end.
13w03aActivated activator rails disable minecarts with hoppers.
1.7.213w39aActivated activator rails activate minecarts with command blocks.
1.814w05aActivated activator rails eject players and mobs from minecarts.
1.915w39aDismounting location is now predictable. Entities will dismount from vehicle (boats, minecarts, horses) by the right side relative to the motion of the vehicle. If the right side is unavailable, the other potential locations will be tested in this order : Right, Left, Back Right, Back Left, Front Right, Front Left, Back, Front.
15w44aActivator rails can now be found in abandoned mineshaft chest minecarts.
1.1116w32bAll rail types' hitbox heights are decreased from a full block to a half block.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.13.0build 1Added activator rails.
Console Edition
TU19CU71.10Patch 1Added activator rails.
TU31CU191.22Patch 3Activated activator rails eject players and mobs from minecarts.


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