Found a huge cavern, that I spent days exploring and it seems likely that it's branches and all could be many more days of exploring. Since I've piled up tons of stuff during the dive, I figured that it's a good idea to start dropping some of this stuff off at my house. Unfortunately it's a really really long walk.
I decided that instead of taking tons of trips back and forth to move my chests of stuff to my house one inventory at a time over the hazardous overworld, I'd make a tunnel back home and use a mine cart. I have not yet made mine tracks but looked up recipes on it
Apparently, minecarts don't power themselves; but I figured that, and made a powered minecart (minecart+furnace) unfortunately it seems to rather specifically want only to go exactly the wrong way. I read it can only push, so i put it behind the minecart i was in, and turned it on, and it ran directly into the block stopping the tracks and turned black and sank into the ground.
I dug it out and rebuilt the area, and tried placing it from the left side of the tracks instead. It ran directly into the block, and sank into the ground. So i tried the right side, and it ran directly into the block, turned black and sank into the ground.
I really have trouble understanding how exactly one is to use a powered cart if it only pushes, and always moves towards the short end of the track. How do I get the carts to start moving and keep moving down the hall I want it to? (I'd use powered tracks instead but i have only 6 blocks of gold and that won't make enough powered tracks to cover the area I need.)
stand behind the powered minecart when you put the fuel in. they go in the direction you are facing.
obviously this makes it difficult to ride a cart that is being pushed and powered rail is better in every way anyway.
For carts that carry people .. you want to use powered rails.
For carts that are going to carry chests (that are empty) you wanted to use a powered minecart.
Powered rails do not push empty mine carts far enough at all and that is where the powered minecart works great and it can push decent sized trains. For powered rails empty(with chests in them etc) cars go like 6 tiles only 1 square up a 1x1 grade, for carts with people in them it's every 4th rail on 1x1 and around 24-26 tiles on flat terrain. As you can see building a track that uses powered rails for moving product is a bad idea.
What I'm doing to combat this is a kinda of a dual rail system. When you are running a train with a powered minecart it runs to the "storage" area station and back. When you are running people carts it goes to the people station that uses all powered rails. There is a switch track that you set which track you are using to switch the main line to go to the proper drop off area.
Note: You can send the powered minecart on the main line, just with my main station it wouldn't work well as I use a pez dispenser setup (got from the web) for my people setups.
Hope this helps some.
Edit: BTW the minecart powered section doesn't currently work due to the buggy nature of the powered minecards since the 1.6 patch, hopeing it's fixed in the next patch so I can get everything working the way I want.