Here in the south Limburg, Netherlands, trains are pretty nice. VERY clean, pretty reliable with little delays, good heating in the winter and the air conditioning is decent. I rarely get late to uni. (Not even once the past 3 months)
Though if something is wrong, it's usually messed up for a long time. I had to travel by bus for 2 weeks a year ago. Their buses were organized very well, but it still took 30 min longer to get my university.
The range on the portal is approximately one completely zoomed in radar range, I'm not sure if height matters but I assume it does. If you put it outside the range the portal will activate, but you can't use it. There's no indication of when you're too far or not.
One way to get a feel for how far it is, is to place a personal waypoint on the entrance and see how far you can put the exit.