Watch This 3D Animated Timeline Of How The Tube Map Developed

By Geoff Marshall Last edited 66 months ago
Watch This 3D Animated Timeline Of How The Tube Map Developed

With the recent new Tube map, with the sprawl of orange Overground lines added to it, one of the more popular comments being thrown about was that the tube map has become 'too congested'. This led us to wonder how the Tube map has developed over the years, since the first line was built in 1863.

There's other material online that has static images of the Tube map over time, but we wanted to see a 3D animated timeline of it all coming together, which is why we've gone and made this!

Watch the video to see how, from the part first of the Metropolitan Line in 1863, the shape of the Tube map has changed right up until the new branch to Heathrow Terminal 5 was built.


  • The stations in the Hounslow area are really tricky to show (Hounslow Town opened in 1883, closed in 1886, then had a period when it was open again between 1903 and 1909) which is why we have a separate animated timeline of railways in the Hounslow area.
  • The Northern City Line was not originally part of the Northern Line but is shown here in black, as it did later become part of the Northern Line, and appeared on carriage maps of Northern Line trains.
  • The Circle Line is not 'shown' here as being a line that was created, as it is an amalgamation of Metropolitan and District Line services, but it first appears on the tube map in its separate colour of yellow in 1949.

Last Updated 22 August 2015