AMBITIOUS plans to build a bullet train between Scotland's two biggest cities have been dropped.

The proposal for a high speed link between Glasgow and Edinburgh was announced by Nicola Sturgeon when she was infrastructure minister in 2012.

But the scheme, which she claimed would cut journey times to less than 30 minutes, has been quietly abandoned.

In a written parliamentary answer, transport minister Derek Mackay said it was "not possible" to progress the scheme until details of the proposed cross-border leg of HS2, high speed link from London to the north of England had been finalised.

Scottish Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Tavish Scott said: "Three years ago the First Minister said there would be full steam ahead on this project.

"There was a grand ceremony in Glasgow addressed by two Cabinet ministers.

"What’s happened since is that the SNP have shelved the project but hoped nobody would notice."

He added: "The SNP’s about-turn on their plans for this route shows a lack of respect for people in the two cities.

"They conned everyone into thinking that they would build this bullet railway from a blank page.

"They could never tell us where the terminus was in either city or the route it would take.

"These plans have been kept secret. And now they have tried to keep their cancellation secret."

Announcing the plan in November 2012, Ms Sturgeon said 140mph trains could link Glasgow and Edinburgh at least a decade before HS2 was extended north of the Border.

She said the Scottish Government would "not wait" for Westminster to deliver HS2 and would be "firing ahead" with her its own plans.

The commitment followed a report by the government's Transport Scotland agency.

The following year, it was included in the Scottish Government's infrastructure plan for major new transport links.

But responding to a parliamentary question from Mr Scott, Mr Mackay said: "A draft business case considering a high speed rail link between Edinburgh and Glasgow was submitted as advice to Ministers in 2014.

"It was clear from this work that what high speed rail is built in Scotland depends on the high speed route coming up from the south.

"Therefore it is not possible to progress planning for a high speed rail link between Edinburgh and Glasgow any further until a cross-border high speed route is identified."