Early Streetcar Map
In 1947, the Waukegan-North Chicago Transit Co. (WNCT) was formed as a subsidiary of the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad, after the last streetcar lines were converted to buses. After the railroad ceased its interurban operations in 1963, the bus operation was sold. The RTA acquired the Waukegan-North Chicago Transit Co. in 1982, and the operation was managed by ATE Management until 1985, when it became the North Division.
Waukegan-North Chicago Transit Co. bus routes were identified by colors. The main bus route was the "Red" route, which evolved to Pace routes #561, #562, #563, and #564. There also was a "Green" route on Washington, which is now route #572. And the "Orange" route formed a one way loop from downtown Waukegan, operating southwest via Dugdale, south via Lewis, east via 10th, north via Jackson, and east via Grand.
Effective 11/13/77, the RTA implemented a a major overhaul of the bus route structure in Waukegan.
Effective 12/22/2013, changes were made with regional routes, emphasizing use of College of Lake County as a regional hub.
561 - Castlecrest via McAree - original streetcar segment opened in 1895 north via County and Franklin to North, extended north in 1918 via North and Glen Flora to Western. Also completed in 1918 was a branch via Glen Flora east to Sheridan. In 1928, a short extension was completed via North from Glen Flora to Greenwood. Converted to buses 1947. As a bus route, was a branch of the WNCT "Red" route. Bus route was quite similar to the present route, except for originally using Sheridan as far north as Glen Flora. Route later formed a loop returning via Lewis until 11/14/77, when route #569 was introduced, and route #561 took its present basic form.
562 - Gurnee via Sunset - a branch of the WNCT "Red" route had operated north via Sheridan, Glen Flora, North, Greenwood, Golf, Walnut, to Montasano. Later until 1977, route operated primarily via North Ave. north of downtown Waukegan, and terminated at Linden and Montasano. Route was then extended west via Sunset. In the mid 1980's, route changed to operate via Jackson.
563 - Great Lakes Naval Station - original streetcar segment opened in 1895 south to 10th St., extended south in 1896 to 22nd St., and to North Chicago Jct. in 1897. In 1898, line extended further south, reaching Evanston in 1899. This became the North Shore Line interurban route. In 1905, first segment of high speed interurban line opened north of North Chicago Jct., through Waukegan's west side, and reaching Milwaukee in 1908. Original streetcar line between North Chicago and downtown Waukegan would become only a spur line for the interurban service. Converted to buses 1947. As a bus route, was part of the WNCT "Red" route, and had formed a loop returning north mainly via Lewis and 18th. Lewis segment later split off to separate route #564, with route #563 cut back to terminate at Naval Station. In 1977, route again extended west to Green Bay Road.
564 - Jackson-14th - route originally formed by splitting off portion of WNCT "Red" route, now route #563. After 1977, route formed a loop involving 22nd St., Dugdale, and 14th St. Route at that time also began operating south of downtown Waukegan via Jackson, instead of Sheridan. Service on Jackson had been provided by a portion of WNCT "Orange" route, later a route #566, which was discontinued. Route took basic present form in 1982, when extended west to Lakehurst Mall.
565 - Grand Avenue - was originally part of the WNCT "Orange" route, which had only served Grand on the return portion of a one way loop, which operated north via Jackson and east via Grand. Later formed as separate route operating both ways on Grand. Extended west after 1977, with the west end of line changing over the the years until established at Gurnee Mills Mall, which opened in 1991. Effective 12/22/2013 extended from Gurnee Mills to College of Lake County, replacing portion of route #570.
566 - Vernon Hills - introduced 9/20/82 between Hawthorn Center mall and Vernon Hills. Effective 2/6/87, became an extension of route #572. Discontinued 8/2012, replaced with Dial-A-Ride service #593.
566 - McAree-Keller - introduced early 1990's as rush hour crosstown route, discontinued in 2003, restored 8/23/2004. Service suspended 5/18/2020 to 8/9/2021 due to covid-19 pandemic.
567 - Ports of Call - introduced 2/25/83, for the benefit of Great Lakes Naval Base Sailors for recreation on evenings and weekends. Originally operated as far west as Lakehurst Mall, extended to Gurnee Mills Mall in 1993. Route actually entered the Great Lakes Naval Base. But amidst security concerns after September 11, 2001, route was prohibited from entering the Base. Ridership thus declined, and route was discontinued 1/19/2002.
568 - Belvidere - originally served Lakehurst Mall, which opened in 1971 as the area's main mall, but eventually closed. Route is basically unchanged.
569 - Lewis - crosstown route introduced 11/14/77. Operated entirely via Lewis until early 1980's, when route began using Green Bay Road south of 22nd St.
570 - Fox Lake-College of Lake County - interurban bus route introduced 4/10/78, with the east end of line changing over the the years until established at Gurnee Mills Mall, which opened in 1991. Effective 12/22/2013 discontinued between College of Lake County and Gurnee Mills, replaced by extension of route #565.
571 - Zion - introduced 12/8/75. Until early 1980's, alternate trips operated via Sheridan north to the state line.
572 - Washington - originally a streetcar route introduced in 1915, operating west to Lewis. Converted to buses 1937. As a bus route, was WCNT "Green" route, and RTA route #567. Interurban bus route #572 introduced 4/18/77, connecting Waukegan with the College of Lake County, and with Hawthorn Center mall. Route #567 was discontinued within a few years as redundant. Effective 12/22/2013 discontinued between College of Lake County and Hawthorn Center, replaced by new route #574.
573 - Antioch - interurban bus route introduced 2/13/78 between College of Lake County and Antioch, discontinued 6/4/82. Another attempt to operate service began 4/29/85 between the college and Lake Villa, but that service also lasted only until 2/6/87.
573 - Green Bay Road - introduced 9/3/91 as rush hour crosstown route, discontinued in 2003, restored 8/23/2004. Service suspended 5/18/2020 to 8/9/2021 due to covid-19 pandemic.
574 - College of Lake County-Hawthorn - introduced 4/18/77 as part of route #572, became separate route effective 12/22/2013.
574 - North Conway Park - rush hour route introduced 3/19/2001 between Lake Forest Metra/Union Pacific station and industrial area near Tri-State Tollway and State Hwy. 60, discontinued 2008.
575 - Route 60 West - rush hour route introduced 12/10/2001 between Lake Forest Metra/Union Pacific station and industrial area near State Hwy. 21 and State Hwy. 60, discontinued 4/23/2004.
576 - Deerfield-Lincolnshire - introduced 6/10/2002, discontinued 12/31/2014. Route operated by Pace North Shore Division.
580 - Abbott Park-Mundelein - rush hour route introduced 2/9/87, discontinued 8/7/87.
581 - Abbott Park-Vernon Hills - rush hour route introduced 2/9/87, discontinued 8/7/87.
580-582 - North Central Shuttle Bug - three rush hour reverse feeder routes introduced 11/20/2006, after expansion of Metra's North Central Service. Discontinued in 2009.
WNCT Bus Map
North Shore Line Web Site
Link to an excellent Web site with history, rosters, and other information about the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad, which operated Waukegan's transit system until its demise in 1963.