Work on the £50 billion high-speed rail project between London and Birmingham will begin in 2017 as planned after MPs voted against a proposal for it to be scrapped.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the project would continue despite a 33-strong Tory revolt in the Commons late last night had failed to wreck the scheme.
Former Cabinet minister Cheryl Gillan had led a rebellion against HS2 which will cut through Tory heartlands in the Chilterns.
She indicated she would keep up the fight by scrutinising the project "inch by inch" as it progressed through Parliament.
Her amendment won the backing of 32 MPs in the lobbies, plus a Conservative teller, and the rebels included chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers Graham Brady and former Cabinet minister Caroline Spelman.
Fourteen Labour MPs also backed Mrs Gillan's amendment which criticised the project and ministers' refusal to publish the Major Projects Authority report into the risks of the scheme.
Mrs Gillan's amendment called on the House of Commons to decline a second reading of the legislation but this was defeated by 451 votes to 50.
Ahead of the vote, Europe Minister David Lidington threatened to resign over the scheme unless his constituency was guaranteed sufficient help dealing with the impact.
In the main second reading, MPs voted 452 to 41 to back the principle of the HS2 project.
Any serious threat to its progress was removed when Labour indicated it would support the legislation.
The first stage of the scheme will link London and Birmingham with a second phase to Manchester and Leeds.
Mr McLoughlin said: "By voting in favour of the hybrid Bill, Parliament has made a clear commitment to a key part of the Government's long term economic plan.
"HS2 is a once in a generation opportunity to create jobs and develop skills, provide the extra space we need on our rail network for commuters and freight and better connect our biggest cities.
"I am aware of the concerns some who live very close to the HS2 route have. I am confident however that by working together we can ensure this vital new north-south railway is designed in the right way, and we will have spades in the ground in 2017 as planned."
Speaking after the vote, Mrs Gillan said: "This is a large number of MPs unconvinced that HS2 is the solution to our country's infrastructure problems. Government should realise that this project will be closely scrutinised every step of the way.
"Many colleagues also abstained this evening which shows that the scepticism of this project runs much more deeply than the voting figures suggest."