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Mike Lowe (1936-2020)
Michael George Lowe was born in Walsall on 27th November 1936. Mike started work for what was then known as Walsall Corporation Transport (WCT) as a conductor, progressing into driving trolleybuses then regular buses. He became an Inspector in 1967 and stayed with the company, now WMPTE, until his retirement in 1992.

During his life, Mike had a keen interest in photography, generally taking lots of family photos over the years. He started taking a particular interest in diesel trains from the early 80s but rather than just making a note of train numbers, Mike liked to photograph them. This hobby then grew to where Mike would often travel, in his spare time, to local stations and sheds to see what engines were there or passing through, especially Bescot and Saltley.

Mike's aim was to photograph every diesel engine in existence. To this end he would travel around the UK, visiting Crewe fairly regularly, and also places as far afield as Inverness and Devon to attempt to complete his collection. He was very successful with the ‘main line’ classes and got to know of many special and unusual movements into Bescot Yard through his contacts.

With the arrival of two grandchildren in the 90s, Mike got the whole family involved in his love of trains with day trips on the Severn Valley Railway and visits to railway stations during UK family holidays.

With family commitments and playing an active role in the South Staffs Regimental Association, including several years as Secretary, Mike's hobby took a back seat for a few years until the unfortunate passing of Mike's beloved wife, June, in 2011. This hit him hard but it was his love of trains that saw him through such a difficult time. Mike started to visit Walsall and Bescot stations several times a week and here he made new friends and found a way to help him through his grief.

For equipment he used an Olmypus OM-10 camera with a variety of films, usually 400 ASA but did not retain the negatives, just keeping the prints in over 150 albums all organised by class and number. He had a particular interest in nameplates and especially worksplates – which were disappearing at a fast rate in the early 1980s and captured a number of nice photos of ‘in service’ examples. Mike continued his interest for several more years until he grew more and more unsteady on his feet until, eventually, he had to give up his hobby for good.

In January 2020 Mike suffered a sudden stroke and passed away in hospital a few days later on 1st February.

Mike started his collection in 1982 when there was still much variety in motive power; Bescot Yard was still receiving, sorting and despatching vast quantities of freight, passenger services on the NE-SW route through New Street were still loco hauled and the majority of the early electrics were still in service. Furthermore Didcot Power Station was at its peak generating capability and there was a constant flow of coal from the Midlands collieries passing Saltley. It was also a time when enthusiasts could walk around Bescot shed and yard without being chased off by the transport police, especially if you were as well-known as Mike! This portfolio exists because of the meticulous attention to detail and passion Mike had for his hobby and he would be so pleased and proud to know that people are able to enjoy and appreciate his collecton now and in the future.

Class 01-10

Visitors 24
447 photos
Created 25-Mar-24
Modified 25-Mar-24
Class 01-10

Class 11-20

Visitors 12
147 photos
Created 6-Jul-23
Modified 6-Jul-23
Class 11-20

Class 21-29

Visitors 29
126 photos
Created 24-Mar-23
Modified 24-Mar-23
Class 21-29

Class 31-37

Visitors 11
4 photos
Created 24-Mar-23
Modified 24-Mar-23
Class 31-37

Class 40-47

Visitors 30
144 photos
Created 18-May-23
Modified 18-May-23
Class 40-47

Class 50-58

Visitors 17
51 photos
Created 2-Feb-23
Modified 2-Feb-23
Class 50-58

Class 60-68

Visitors 0
0 photos
Created 11-Jan-23
Modified 11-Jan-23

Class 70-77

Visitors 12
40 photos
Created 24-Feb-23
Modified 24-Feb-23
Class 70-77

Class 81-89

Visitors 9
58 photos
Created 6-Jul-23
Modified 6-Jul-23
Class 81-89