Whether you’re playing the PC version or Xbox 360 Edition, Minecraft’s “On a Rail” achievement is by far the most time-consuming achievement in the game. You’ll need to have the patience to find and gather an absurd amount of resources to make it happen. But here are some pointers to make the process a bit easier while saving you from having to do the required basic math.
The achievement is awarded in the Xbox 360 Edition if you can travel 500 meters via mine cart in a straight line. This means you will need to lay a lot of rail, which in turn means you will need an insane amount of iron. Since one in-game meter is the size of a block, you will need 500 track pieces. Of course, in order to keep your cart moving, you will also need some powered rails.
Now, my preferred method of track-building is to set one powered section for every 24 unpowered sections. (It’s not enough to keep you moving at top speed, but it will get you where you need to go relatively quickly nonetheless. Having every 25th section of rail as a powered section also makes the length of your track easier to measure, in case you lose count.) To make this 500 meters long, you’ll need 20 sections of powered rail and 480 sections of unpowered rail (that comes out to seven and a half stacks).
So let’s do the math on that. Six iron ingots and one stick will give you sixteen sections of track. This means you will need 30 sticks and 180 iron ingots to make your unpowered track sections. The sticks should be easy enough to come by, but it will take you quite a bit of mining to get the iron. You’ll also need five additional iron ingots for your mine cart, and a few extra to make some iron picks for digging up Redstone and gold.
What might take even longer, though, is getting the gold to make your powered track sections. You’ll need six gold ingots, a stick, and one pile of Redstone dust per six sections of track. So you’ll need 24 gold ingots, four sticks, and four piles of Redstone dust. In addition, you’ll need 20 Redstone torches to power these, which will cost you 20 more piles of Redstone dust and 20 more sticks. Yes, it will probably take you a while to acquire the resources, especially with how rare gold is.
If that seems like too much, the PC version requires you to travel 1km, or 1,000 meters. That’s right, take the figures from above and double them. However, the good news is that the PC version won’t require you to travel in a straight line.
Now, to make a track that’s perfectly straight, there are a couple different methods you could try. The first is to make an elevated rail. You’ll need at least enough cobblestone (or whatever else you want to lay your track on; I’m going to assume it’s cobblestone for the sake of this guide) for the 500m. One drawback to this method is that you’ll have to mine the cobblestone beforehand. But if you’ve managed to dig up enough iron for this project, it should be safe to assume you’ve got a pretty healthy stockpile of cobblestone already. Another drawback is that you run the risk of falling to your death during construction if your rail is too high off the ground. Still, this is the preferred method.
The other method would be to make a subway, so your cart will travel through a long tunnel. The drawbacks are that it will take quite a bit of time to mine the tunnel, and that you could run into lava flows or underwater lakes during the mining process.
Once you have the required materials, go nuts making your track. Just keep in mind that your powered rail sections need to have a Redstone torch nearby for them to be powered. You can either place a torch next to the rail, or directly under the block that the rail is resting on (see picture below for an example.)
And there you go. Once you travel 500m (Xbox 360) or 1km (PC), you will unlock the “On a Rail” achievement. Have fun!