If you’ve been to the Natural History Museum 🦖, Roman Road Market 🛍️, Wimbledon 🎾, Whitechapel Gallery 🖼️ or Kew Gardens 🌼, then chances are you got there via the District line.
Our favourite green line first opened on Christmas Eve in 1868 – that makes the District line 150 years young 🎂
In the following years, it extended east and west and now has 60 stations – the most of any Tube line! Check out some of our top destinations to visit along the line.
A brief history 🕰️
- 1868 – The first section of what is now the District line begins, running between South Kensington and Westminster
- 1869 – New tracks open between Gloucester Road and West Brompton
- 1874 – The line extends to Hammersmith, Richmond (1877), and Ealing Broadway (1879)
- 1884 – Mark Lane station opens, not only adding a new stop to the District line but also closing the Circle
- 1930s – Construction of a Piccadilly line extension begins, resulting in Hounslow services running during rush hour only until 1964
- 1932 – District line tracks beyond East Ham are electrified, and services are extended to Upminster Bridge
- 1957 – A temporary airport terminal opens Underground (west of Gloucester Road) and passengers can check-in to their flights!
- 1958 – Upminster Depot opens
- 1967 – Mark Lane station closed and the new Tower Hill station opened in 1980 with single-leaf D stock running on the line
- 1978 – Hannah Dadds of the District line becomes the first female Tube driver
- 1980 – D stock introduced, running until 2017. S-7 stock is now used on the line – ‘S’ refers to the fact that the train services subsurface lines, rather than the deep Tube lines, and 7 refers to the number of cars in the train!
As you can see, the line has seen some big changes over the years ⏳ Some of its most recent innovations 💡 include the S stock modern walk-through air-conditioned trains – providing improved capacity, security and passenger flow – and the new signalling system will transform it even further.
Did you know…? 🤔
150 years is a long time – you can imagine the District line has seen a lot. Here’s some of our favourite fun facts!
- The District Railway opened using steam trains. The first electric trains didn’t run on the line until 1905 – thankfully now with new air-conditioned stock!
- 1905 was also the year fishmongers were banned from shipping their wares using the line … wonder why? 🕰️
- When it first opened, the District line took a church break on Sundays with services suspended from 11am to 1pm ⛪
- Drivers weren’t allowed to blow their whistles near Temple station so they didn’t disturb the lawyers nearby 🤫
- Back when the line was used to transport freight around London in the early 1900s, packages reached their final destinations carried by a tricycle-riding courier!
- It took 2000 workers to dig the tunnel, along with 200 horses. That’s a lot of horse power! 🐎🐎🐎
- A Tube line is a funny thing to ask for Christmas but someone must have since the District line opened on Christmas Eve. Apparently Christmas Day was considered profitable for travel 🎅
- One for the gamers 🎮 Lara Croft takes on rats in the disused Aldwych Tube station of the District line in Tomb Raider 3 🐀🐀🐀
- One for the film buffs 🎥 scenes from Sliding Doors were shot at Fulham Broadway Tube station on the District line, and Waterloo station on the Waterloo & City line
- More than 220 million journeys take place on the line annually
- The original District Railway trains could fit about 400 people per train, but today it can carry more than 1,000 people with the help of the new S-7 stock trains
Need more inspiration?
Explore more than 500 museums, galleries, street art sites and more, all within a short walk or bus ride from each Underground station with our interactive Cultural TfL Map.
Kids aged 5-10 travel free on all Tube, DLR, London Overground and TfL Rail services with a valid 5-10 Zip Oyster photocard. All kids under 11 travel free on buses and trams.
Go and discover London off-peak this spring at Time Out.