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Minecarts Are Too Slow | Building Better Minecart Boosters
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I used this five cart minecart booster for all of a day before Notch completed the Halloween update, which I'm blaming for sort of breaking it. Prior to the update, it seemed to work like a dream, providing enough acceleration to send mine carts flying across my great network (which is getting pretty darned large these days) almost endlessly. In fact, it took a collision with a misplaced farm animal or simply leaping out of the cart at speed to stop the journey.
Post Halloween update however, the five cart mine cart booster seemed to develop a quirky new habit of flinging its carts off at random, sometimes onto the track, sometimes next to the booster, sometimes at one's head. This put something of a kink in my plan for a nationwide minecart network, because yes, I'm using minecarts solely for rapid transportation of players (namely, me), not for sending materials from one place to another.
I was forced then, to find alternative minecart booster plans. I found a very good one on the minecraft wiki page for minecart boosters, where I also found out how boosters actually work. Apparently it is due to the fact that two minecarts traveling alongside one another cause rapid acceleration. This is a glitch I believe, though if it is 'fixed' before some other method of minecart acceleration is devised, then howls of despair will echo across the globe.
Anyway, back to minecart boosters that work (for the moment at least). This one is especially nifty I think, being a two directional, auto resetting booster. It's simple to build, though if you've built any specific 'station' structures (as I had), you may have to knock out walls to accommodate the design.
There's only one complaint I have to make with this type of booster and that is that the power of the booster, and the longevity of the boost are considerably weaker than the five cart model. The five cart model would send you flying about your map almost infinitely. This one tends to run out fairly quickly, meaning that you'll need to build multiple minecart boosters across your map in order not to end up stranded on a stretch of lonely track somewhere.
There's also plans for an uphill booster that I think I'll try as well, it's pretty much just a variation on the one above, but with an incline involved. I'll be trying that out at a later date, as for the moment, these flat land boosters don't seem to have any real problem powering minecarts uphill.