Post-Christmas visitors to Edinburgh from Tayside and Fife are being urged to rethink their plans as major disruption is expected.
Engineering work being carried out by Network Rail near Haymarket station from Friday to Sunday will see services start and terminate before actually reaching the capital.
There are no trains in Tayside and Fife on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and ScotRail has confirmed all services on Friday and Saturday will run on a revised timetable between Perth, Dundee,Arbroath and Dalgety Bay.
There will be what has been described as a “very limited” replacement bus service running between Dalgety Bay and Edinburgh Waverley.
An additional hourly service will operate between Haymarket and Inverkeithing but will only run until early evening, with the last journey from Inverkeithing to Haymarket at 7.26pm on Friday and Saturday.
A ScotRail spokesman said people planning to travel to the Edinburgh area on these dates, particularly on Saturday, should “consider making alternative arrangements”.
Liam Sumpter, Network Rail Scotland route director, apologised for any inconvenience but stressed the upgrade should improve the track’s reliability and means the junction should not need to be renewed for decades.
“Haymarket East junction is a key part of Scotland’s railway and is used by hundreds of trains a day travelling to destinations across Scotland and England.
“We understand the inconvenience this work will cause to some passengers, but renewing such a complex piece of our railway cannot be accomplished without a short-term closure of the line.
“Our engineers have carefully planned this project to be completed as quickly as possible and we are working hard alongside our train operators to keep passengers informed of the changes to services during this important investment in the railway.”
Haymarket East is one of the busiest stations in the country and is used by more than 30 trains an hour so any disruption is likely to cause difficulties for commuters and people travelling to see friends and family, particularly at the weekend.
Disruption will continue on Sunday morning until 10am, while the timetable is scheduled to return to normal on Monday, before services start to wind down again at around 8pm on Hogmanay.
There will be no service on New Year’s Day.
ScotRail trains will only run in the central belt on Boxing Day and on a revised timetable, with most services running in the Glasgow area.