David F. Russell was born in 1937 and joined British Railways as an Engineering Apprentice at Derby in 1954. He worked as a Senior Technical Officer in 1963, before becoming an Assistant to Depot Engineer at Old Oak Common in 1964. He became Quality Control Engineer at Old Oak Common in 1966, before moving to Cardiff Canton a year later. He served as Area Maintenance Engineer at Old Oak Common from 1970 before moving to be Divisional Maintenance Engineer at King's Cross in 1973. He was appointed as Regional Traction Engineer for British Rail: Eastern Region in 1976. He was employed as Engineer at Railfreight between from 1982 to 1992, at which point he was appointed as Director Engineering for Railfreight Distribution, serving in this capacity until 1993.