It may be recalled that Blackpool Standard 147 ran for several years with the name ‘Michael Airey’. It was named after the former Body Shop manager at Blackpool Transport who managed the project to repatriate 147 from the USA and restore it to operational condition. However, the late Mr Airey’s name was removed from the tram during its last repaint as part of the work to return it to a more authentic 1930s appearance – but now it has returned!
147 was noted in service on the last weekend of March with the name ‘Michael Airey’ re-applied, after running without the name for the past year. However, it has been applied in a different position, on the lower deck sides next to the end platforms – previously it was on the ends of the car, beneath the upper deck windows.
The naming of historic trams is always a controversial topic and whilst it is nice that Mr Airey’s wonderful contribution to the tramway, and 147 in particular, is being recognised, whether this is the best way to do it is a matter of personal preference. The previous position, on the cream between-deck end panelling, seemed less obtrusive and blended in with the livery of the car better, but for reasons unknown a different approach has been taken this time.
Name or no name, 147 is set for another busy summer season in Blackpool, and will hopefully be joined by sister car 143 in late August, which should be one of the main highlights of the year for Blackpool tramway enthusiasts and give two operational Standard cars on their original home system for the first time since the 1960s!