Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has visited the Devonshire town of Dawlish where a storm on Tuesday undermined a large section of the track.
Transport Secretary has called for a review of the long term future of the south west railway system.
Patrick McLoughlin said: "The immediate priority is to assess the damage and develop a plan to get the line back into service as soon as possible.
"But I am acutely conscious that the need to develop a long-term solution to the resilience of the railway network in the south west, and I have asked for a report to me on the options for addressing this problem."
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has backed the controversial HS2 scheme, insisting it will become the new "backbone of Britain".
Opponents of the scheme, who believe the project is a waste of money and should be scrapped, seized on an official report published today which revealed that the estimated economic benefits of the £50 billion project are falling.
However, Mr McLoughlin argued the line was not "some expensive add-on" but a scheme which would help people with their daily lives.
Speaking at the National Rail Conference in Manchester, the MP said:
"As the impact of this week’s storm in the south shows, when trains are crowded and disrupted, life for hardworking people gets more difficult. That’s why the new north-south line isn’t some expensive add on. It’s about helping people with their daily lives.
"It’s needed to help commuters who now have to stand - and will soon have to queue - to get on their trains. It’s needed to help the cities of the north which want to compete on equal terms with London. It will be the new backbone of Britain."
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the current weekend disruption on rail networks shows why upgrading the current rail system is not a viable alternative to the HS2.
He told ITV Daybreak the delays and disruption that occurred during the £9 billion upgrade to the West Coast Main Line proves why a new system is preferable to trying to increase capacity on the current network.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is accusing Labour of "playing politics with our prosperity" over the £50 billion HS2 high-speed rail project.
Mr McLoughlin said those in opposition "learn nothing from the past," adding that the Labour Party could not claim to want one nation "if you won't back the things that will bring it together".
Labour appears to be cooling towards the HS2 project, which will see the scheme's first phase run from London to Birmingham in 2026, with a second Y-shaped route due to be completed to northern England in 2032/33.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said he has "no doubt" the controversial High Speed 2 rail scheme will benefit the whole country, after claims it could cost some cities hundreds of millions of pounds.
Mr McLouglin said the project was "vital" for the economy's long-term health, adding: "It's of no doubt to me that it's beneficial to the UK. We need to make sure our cities in the north are able to compete with the rest of Europe as well."
Britain's transport system will become "clogged" without HS2 and suffer under swelling passenger numbers, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin will say in a speech later today.
HS2 will provide a £15 billion boost to the UK economy every year after it is built, the Government claims.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin will argue the network will relived the pressure on Britain's transport system and insist the project will be completed within its £42.6 billion budget.
"The main reason we need HS2 is as a heart bypass for the clogged arteries of our transport system," McLoughlin will say.
Ministers are attempting to bolster support for the train link, which will connect London with Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, after it came in for withering attacks from the influential Public Accounts Committee.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has insisted that passengers must pay more for their fares if they want the same level of investment in railways to continue.
He admitted it was "frustrating" that much of that investment - such as upgrading tracks and signals - could not be seen, but said that passengers would reap the benefits.