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I assume the question is about North America? Before the railroad spanned the East coast to the West coast, it would take between 3 and 6 months for a horse drawn wagon train to complete the journey. Many did, but many didn't complete the hazardous journey with many dying on the way.
Obviously not everyone went coast to coast, with many leaving the wagon trains to settle along the routes. There where several routes opened up by intrepid pioneers.
By comparison, depending on where you begin and where you end your journey, nowadays, the 3,000 mile coast-to-coast train ride takes 3 nights, without stopovers.

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Q: How did the railroad facilitate population growth in the interior of the country?
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