A train station manager was apparently sacked for moving a shopping trolley from a track fearing a derailment, causing anger among village supporters.
Ian Faletto, who had worked for South West Trains for 27 years, was based at Lymington station, Hampshire, which has a single-track running through it.
South West Trains said Mr Faletto was dismissed for a "serious safety breach" but refused to go into further detail.
Residents said he always went the "extra mile for passengers".
The single-track branch line runs between Lymington and Brockenhurst in the New Forest.
The Reverend Alex Russell, vicar of St Mark's Church, Pennington, has started a petition calling for Mr Faletto's reinstatement.
She said Mr Faletto had told her he saw the shopping trolley on the line and saw a "potential danger".
He then called a nearby station to switch the power off before removing the trolley from the track, she said.
"I'm really delighted about how much support there clearly is for Ian and he deserves it because he has always gone the extra mile for passengers," she said.
"The station has been immaculate... he is always dressed beautifully.
"He used his own money to buy flowers to put at the front of the station to make it look nice, now all there is is dead weeds, cans and rubbish.
"There's just nothing I can find to criticise about Ian and it appears local people agree with me. He's absolutely devastated, the railway was his life."
In the past Mr Faletto, who wore a button hole, has won a number of awards for customer service which included Sway station - where he previously worked - being named station of the year.
A South West Trains spokesperson said an employee had been dismissed for a "serious breach of safety" but refused to officially explain what this was.
"This action was taken following a full and thorough internal investigation and the decision was also upheld at an appeal hearing," he said.
"Our absolute priority is to run a safe railway for our passengers and staff.
"All of our employees are aware of the importance of complying with the strict rules governing railway safety, which we have a duty to enforce, and the serious consequences of disregarding them."