The chapter was later excerpted in a 1970 anthology titled, Workin' on the Railroad: Reminiscences from the Age of Steam. And as for Christowe, he later became a journalist, the author of several books, and a member of the Vermont state legislature.
I watched the Fast Mail disappear into the unknown West. I felt less alone now, less cold.
"All right, men, rip her up now," Pat yelled in his high-pitched voice.
A new energy seized the workers. The claw bars clamped the spikes with iron fangs and jerked them out like frozen worms. The tongmen slung in the new thirty-three-foot rails with the lightness of sticks. I unclasped the metal hooks of my sheepskin-lined coat so as to breathe more freely, and I took off my mittens that I might touch the steel with my bare hands. And then I felt as if a candle were suddenly lit inside me, glowing within me and warming my body. In crowded St. Louis I had never felt so close to America as I did now in this pathless plain. I knew that as I touched the steel, linking one rail to another, I was linking myself to the new country and building my own solid road to a new life.