The control panel for the west end staging yard is now finished as you can see in the photo below.
In the past, I have used Letraset dry transfer lettering and Chartpak tape for my panels. Once the lettering and track diagrams are in place, I spray the panel with a clear flat finish to protect everything. However, for this panel I wanted a different solution. Dry transfer lettering is getting hard to find and isn't easy to apply.
The first place I went to look for alternatives was the Model Railroad Hobbyist forum. I quickly found a solution in a post by George Booth. You can read the post here: http://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/7237. I printed the labels in Word and took them to Staples for lamination. I then cut them out and glued them to the panel. What a great idea- thanks to George for posting this idea on the MRH forum.
Speaking of lamination, I noticed that the train cards on the layout were beginning to show signs of wear after a number of operating sessions. In order to protect the cards, I bought some plastic sleeves to hold them. Unfortunately, they wouldn't fit in the bill boxes on the fascia. I mentioned this to Jim Rollwage, one of the regular operators, and he suggested I get the train cards laminated. Another great idea! All of the train cards were updated and printed on card stock. I then took them to Staples to get laminated. As you can see below, the lamination looks great and will protect the cards for a long time to come.
I'll bet there's something else around here that I could laminate...