There are many different types of rails in Minecraft. Most players only use two different rails: powered rails and and regular rails. These are the most common and most basic types of rails that Minecraft players can use.
They're usually used for transportation inside of mines, but they're also used by some players to create rollercoasters and rail systems to travel across Minecraft worlds.
But there are also other types of rails available for players to use. This includes detectors and activator rails. These two rails are much less common among Minecraft players, and in fact many experienced Minecraft players haven't even used these in their gameplay before.
Without further ado, here are all of the different types of Minecraft rails and their differences.
Different Types of Minecraft rails
Plain rails are the most common type of rails, these are what players use most often in Minecraft. This type of rail is the easiest to make in Minecraft, it requires six iron ignots and one stick to make sixteen regular rails.
These rails neither propell nor stop the player from moving forwards. The regular rails slowly lose momentum as the player travels across them, but the player is able to travel for a long time using only plain rails.
Powered rails are the second most common type of rail. It's nearly impossible to have a mineral without using powered rails. Powered rails are made up of six gold ingots, one redstone dust, and one stick.
These rails stop the minecart in its tracks when a redstone torch or lever isn't powering the rail. When the rail is powered, it propels the minecart and allows the player to continue moving along the tracks.
Powered rails are always placed at the beginning and ends of mine rails. This is because the only way to start the mine rail is to press a button that turns the powered rail on and propels the player forwards. At the end of the track is the same thing, a powered rail attached to a button. If this wasn't the start and finish of each mine rail, the players would have a lot of trouble gaining momentum.
Activator rails are most similar to plain rails. When activator rails are powered by redstone, they start a reaction with the minecart passing above. For example, if there's a TNT inside a passing minecart, the TNT will be set off upon passing the activator rail.
When the activator rail isn't connected or powered by redstone then the activator rail acts like a plain rail. Activator rails can be made from six iron ingots, one redstone torch, and two sticks.
Detector rails are very similar to activator rails, the only difference is that instead of setting off the minecart, the detector rails set off the attached redstone. This means when a minecart passes above the detector rail it acts as a pressure plate for any attached redstone.
The detector rail is capable of activating or deactivating any attached redstone as the minecart passes above it. Although the reaction isn't permanent like a lever, it will only activate for a few seconds like a pressure plate. Players can make a detector rail with six iron ingots, one pressure plate, and one redstone dust.