Welcome to the forum!
The link below is to the 1954 Lionel operating instruction manual. It describes many fundamental aspects of the hobby that you will need, such as lubricating your engines, trackwork, wiring, etc. I find it very useful.
There is also an older thread with a lot of postwar dealer displays, it is one of my favorites:
The ZW is a great transformer. As others suggested, ensure the cord isn't a fire hazard and get it replaced if it is cracked. Also, test the internal breaker by shorting on of the A, B, C, D binding posts to any of the common binding posts with a screw driver. After a few seconds, the internal breaker should click and the red light should come on. If it doesn't, you should have the breaker replaced. Forum member @Tranz4mr has a nice webpage detailing a ZW inspection: