Rail fare rise anger and Sherlock's surprise make headlines

Trains moving in and out of London's Victoria station

As rises in the UK's rail fares come into effect, several papers record the misery of commuters.

The Independent points out that ticket prices are rising three times faster than wages for many, while its sister paper - the i - calculates they've shot up 50% in a decade.

"It ain't fare," says the Sun, noting that commuters in Britain pay three times as much as their counterparts in Germany and France. "It's yet another example of how working people are treated with contempt. It's got to stop," argues the paper's editorial.

The Daily Express quotes Campaign for Better Transport research predicting that - if prices keep rising at the current rate - the government will be making a profit from passengers, as ticket revenue would cover 103% of the cost of running the railways.

That study is interpreted differently by the Daily Telegraph, which says the conclusion is that "higher rail fares are good for the Treasury". And its editorial notes: "For the first time in more than 10 years, season tickets have not gone up in real terms".

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail envisages "the end of first class rail", suggesting ministers are negotiating changes to franchises to encourage operators to convert carriages to second class, with the offer of millions of pounds in compensation.

Spoiler alert - Sherlock 'death trick' explained

The Times's Alex Spence captures the anticipation over the new series of Sherlock, cultivated by the BBC's social media which geo-targeted posts to avoid spoilers for those abroad not yet able to see the show. What followed, says the paper's leader column, was a "triumph in imaginatively updating Conan Doyle's stories".

But just how did Sherlock fake his own death?

The Sun calls it the "biggest secret in television", before revealing - via a series of photographs - what fans had waited two years to find out. It's critic Paul Simper hailed it as "a perfect way to kick off a new year of telly".

"In the end, it all came down to a squash ball concealed under his armpit - had anyone predicted that?" asks Ellen E Jones, in the Independent, referring to how the sleuth temporarily stopped his pulse.

The Telegraph's Chris Harvey agrees the show was "brilliant" but said Sherlock's complex explanation of how he survived plunging from a rooftop was less thrilling than the fantasy explanations offered at the start of the show.

And the Daily Mail's Christopher Stevens wasn't convinced, saying Sherlock's explanation was "barely more convincing" than the red herrings. "The hidden message was a cop-out - we needn't worry about how the last series ended because an exciting new series is here," he added.

Sherlock-inspired cartoons

Still, the show provided some material for cartoonists. The Telegraph's Adams imagines David Cameron lying prostrate on the floor in a Holmes-style cloak and deerstalker, with one eye open and a hand twitching as his spyglass magnifies a graph showing a tiny economic upturn. "Back from the dead?" is its title.

It's a similar story in the Times, where Morten Morland's cartoon titled "How the economy faked its own death..." features George Osborne striding off a pavement heaped with bodies representing all the UK's ills. "Elementary, my dear boy..." says the chancellor as he departs.

The morning after

"Booze sorry now?" is the Daily Star's headline on a picture spread of new year revelry around the country, with several of those photographed appearing to be the worse for wear.

"A new low for boozy Britain," is the Daily Mail's verdict, alongside one photograph of a man carrying "the all but lifeless body of a scantily-clad girl" in Swansea, and another showing a man apparently fast asleep while standing upright with his head on a bollard.

"The hangover," is the Sun's take, as it shows London's streets strewn with litter and notes that 15,000 bottles were among the 85 tonnes of party waste picked up in the capital.

But it wasn't all wild partying, according to the Telegraph. It says 2014 will go down as the "stay-at-home new year", with 20m people watching TV as Big Ben chimed midnight, as the weather put many off a night out.

Some waited till morning to venture out, with some of the 1,000-plus hardy souls who swam in the shadow of the Forth Bridge during the annual Loony Dook photographed in the Times.

Flood or trickle?

Press photographers were at Luton Airport to meet the first arrivals from Bulgarian and Romania since the lifting of visa restrictions. Many commentators have predicted a flood of migrants seeking to work or claim benefits.

"Romania, Bulgaria... and now over-ia," is how the Sun describes the arrivals.

But the deluge was more of a "trickle", according to the Guardian. It says the "few" new arrivals among a majority returning to jobs they already had in the UK were in high demand from the waiting media. Keith Vaz, one of the MPs who met migrants at Luton Airport, writes in the Daily Mirror that the "feared great invasion... has not materialised".

Likewise, the Independent reports it was "all quiet" at London's Victoria coach station, where it says the "fears of invasion from the East come to nothing". It speaks to one Briton flying home to Bucharest who says Romanians don't want to come to the UK because "they think we're racist".

Many arrivals tell reporters they want to work in the UK and the Daily Express says fears that the eastern Europeans "will have the run of Britain's labour market appear to be coming true". It highlights nearly 1.35 million UK-based jobs advertised on the official EU jobs website, compared with fewer than 5,000 in Romania and just four in Bulgaria.

The Financial Times finds pressures in Boston, Lincolnshire, where the population has been swollen by immigrant jobseekers in recent years, although the paper notes that many tensions are based on "popular misconceptions".

Meanwhile, David Aaronovitch, in the Times, suggests that in modern politics it's seen as folly to challenge this gap between perception and reality but argues that in reality voters don't want MPs to pander to them.

Pot luck?

As Colorado legalises the purchase of marijuana, the Daily Telegraph says things are "all going to pot in the Mile High City" as it meets the first cannabis customers of Denver Kush Club.

It describes the city as having "overtaken Amsterdam as the West's most progressive cannabis capital", although it finds opponents of the new freedom predicting a "Big Marijuana" industry "that will grow to be as indifferent to the public's health as cigarette and alcohol companies".

Picturing smokers in the Denver, the Independent declares the Rocky Mountain state to be "blazing a welcome trail". "It will be interesting to see whether the decriminalisation of the sale of marijuana leads to a local collapse... of civilised values," the paper's editorial says.

The Guardian lists the products available alongside the smokers' buds, from marijuana mint drops and truffles, to bath soak and massage oil. The paper asks: "Will it be seen as a showcase for a responsible industry that obviates mass incarceration for minor drug offences and generates hundreds of millions or dollars, or will it be deemed a fiasco, evidence that the US's 1937 marijuana ban was wise after all?"

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