I recently made a journey from Leeds to Penzance. I missed my train to Penzance, the 1006 from Paddington, because the 0701 from York to Kings Cross was late by around 40 minutes. I had to take an alternative train to Penzance, but it was 2 hours later. The problem was this meant it was impossible to complete my further journeys later on in the day. The key problem with this was the fact that these routes are two different operators. Worse, rather than there being one 'big' operator and one 'local' operator, Virgin Trains East Coast and First Great Western each consider themselves the 'main' operator. Anyway after a brief and unenlightening discussion on twitter I queued up at the Kings Cross ticket office. I was told I needn't have, there was nothing they could do and to go and sort it all out with First Great Western, as I'd be travelling on their later service. I pointed out I'd need to come back to them and might need a different train from Kings Cross, but I was told just to speak to the manager there when I got back. It was clear they were not going to help me at all and just kept saying I was now 'First Great Western's passenger' (read: problem). I asked to speak to said manager now, and I was able to. He simply said the same thing but using better words and without the tone of trying to get rid of me so they could serve the next person in the queue. I left on his note "I appreciate your concerns, but as I cannot speak for First Great Western you will just have to go to Paddington and sort it out with them." Can anyone guess what happened at Paddington? That's right, they were helpful, but also kept saying that they couldn't let me travel on an alternative Virgin Trains East Coast service, and that they weren't in a position to offer me any further assistance with my journey because their train had not been late. I was 'a Virgin Trains East Coast passenger' to them. In a way that was true, VTEC had stuffed my journey and then abandoned me, can't expect FGW to go too far out of their way to sort it out. In the end, they made me an offer but I couldn't accept it, so I abandoned my journey and a big refund request is now on it's way to Stagecoach. It's actually a good case of why people cannot really be said to be one company's passenger or another in a lot of situations. What I'd like to discuss here is why 'passing the buck' like this has been allowed. From small cases where one might ask for help from the wrong member of staff and they simply say I don't know - that service is nothing to do with me or a tweet gets sent to the wrong company and they refer it to a second company who are also the wrong company etc etc, right up to large and serious cases like mine where one TOC says no you need to go to them to sort it out, and you do, and then they say no you need to go back to the other people and they will sort it out! *repeatedly bashes head against wall* It causes defensiveness and creates conflict too, in addition to being inefficient and causing delay and dissatisfaction to passengers. Have you ever had the buck passed? Or have you had someone very helpful who got around it for you? Of course this is scarcely the fault of the front-line staff- they are told what they can do and if they are told they mustn't authorise travel on any but their own TOC's services (which IMHO they should not - any 'authorised person' should be able to authorise travel on any train, in the passenger's interest, otherwise what is the point!).