Association of Independent Railways and Preservation Societies
The Association of Independent Railways and Preservation Societies (AIRPS) was the product of a merger between the Association of Independent Railways (AIR) and the Association of Railway Preservation Societies (ARPS) in March 1996. The merger was overseen by Ian Allan, Chairman of the AIR and David Morgan, a member of the ARPS Council of Management with responsibility for legal matters. Its registered office was located in Wednesbury, West Midlands.
The merger of the two associations responded to a report published in 1995 by David Lawrence, which highlighted areas of duplication and overlap between the two associations. Although the Lawrence Report recommended better definition of the roles of the AIR and ARPS in the short-term, it foresaw the need for merger to improve coordination and increase the effectiveness of both as lobbying organisations.
The spheres of activity undertaken by the AIRPS was a combination of those undertaken by the predecessor Associations, which was to promote the heritage industry, protect the preservation movement and fight off unnecessary legislation.
The structure of the AIRPS was a Council of members combining the AIR Board and ARPS Council of Management, which stood down after the first year for re-election by the combined membership to a reduced Board. The first Chairman was Ian Allan and the Vice-Chairman was David Morgan. The new Board consisted of 12 members with responsibility for appointing members to committees responsible for areas such as:
AIRPS was considered a temporary name for the Association, and was rebranded the Heritage Railway Association (HRA) in 1998.