Frank Paterson joined the London & North Eastern Railway in 1946 as a junior clerk. In 1956 he undertook a 3-year British Railways management training scheme and become Stationmaster at Galashiels in 1960. In 1961 he worked as a Goods Agent/Yardmaster at Boston, before becoming a Sales Officer for the Lincoln District in 1962. In 1964, he was appointed the Terminals & Cartage Manager on the Doncaster Division. He moved back to Scotland in 1967 to be the Operating Superintendent for Glasgow North. He became Assistant Divisional Manager, South Wales in 1969, before being made Divisional Manager, Central Division on British Rail: Southern Region in 1970. He was appointed as Deputy General Manager, Southern Region in 1975 before moving to be the Director Freight, British Rail in 1977. In 1978 he was appointed as the General Manager of British Rail: Eastern Region, British Rail and served in this capacity until his retirement in 1986.
Frank Paterson has had an active interest in the preservation of railway heritage, sitting as a member of the National Railway Museum Advisory Board from 1978 and has served as the Advisory Board’s Deputy Chair between 1986 -2010. He sat as Board member for North York Moors PLC from 1987 to 1995. Between 1987 and 2020 he sat on the Friends of the National Railway Museum (FNRM) Council, including acting as Chairman between 2002 and 2012. Since 2015 he has been the FNRM President.
He has been a leading light in the FNRM’s railway heritage activities through his involvement facilitating in the Film Archive of Railway Signalling and People, (FARSAP) and the FNRM’s publication of a series of volumes on the History and Development of Railway Signalling (HADORS). He has also made contributed to two oral history projects, namely the National Archive of Railway Oral History as an interviewer and more recently has acted as the Project Director of Britain’s Railways All Change in addition to being an interviewer.