It was clear that a new transport system was needed. Two bills were passed in 1984 and 1985 authorising the DLR and construction began soon afterwards.
The railway opened in 1987 with 11 single-car trains and 15 stations. The original network comprised two routes - Tower Gateway to Island Gardens and Stratford to Island Gardens. Even before opening day, planning was underway for the first extension, to Bank, which opened in 1991. A further five extensions have since been completed, keeping pace with the growth of Docklands as an international business and financial centre, and an increasingly popular place to live and visit. The routes to Beckton (1994), Lewisham (1999), London City Airport (2005), Woolwich Arsenal (2009) and Stratford International (2011) mean that today, the DLR has 45 stations and 149 vehicles, many operating in 3-car formation.
DLR was crucial to the success of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. As well as the Olympic Park itself, the DLR also served competition venues in Greenwich and the Royal Docks, and some road events in central London. Significant enhancements were made to the network in preparation for the Games, including the Stratford International extension, the upgrade to support 3-car train formation, a new signalling and control system, and improvements to key stations. During the Games DLR carried double its normal number of passengers, which helped the network reach 100 million passenger journeys in the year 2012/13.
DLR was originally a wholly owned subsidiary of one of TfL's precursors, London Regional Transport. In 1992 it transferred to the LDDC, sponsored by the Department of Environment. Since 1997 DLR has been operated under franchise by the private sector. The current franchise was awarded to KeolisAmey Docklands Ltd (KAD) in 2014. DLR has been the responsibility of Transport for London since we were established in 2000.