A couple of points just to try and clarify everything dumped in this thread:
1)Conventional lionel trains operated via varying the voltage to the track, usually via the handles. Reverse was handled via interrupting power to the track, whistle was superimposed DC. So to make the engine go faster or slower, you are varying the voltage.
2)In 1993 or thereabouts, Lionel came up with TMCC command control. It sends a signal over the ground in house wiring, that contains commands the engine can understand. With TMCC operation, the track voltage is constant (like 18v), command boards in the engine get a command from a control (the cab 1 in your case), and varies the speed of the engine by internally changing the voltage. Again, track voltage is constant.
They also created a module called the TPC (track power control), that could vary the track voltage (so it would have 18 v going into it) via the TMCC command system. The TMCC remote could talk to the TPC (I don't remember if it was hardwired to the TMCC base). Using a TPC, therefore, you can run a conventional engine and the TPC would minic a transformer, it can vary voltage to the track, change direction, whistle. Note that in this mode a command control engine would likely not work very well, because it wants 18 v, so running a conventional engine and a TMCC one on the same track wouldn't work very well.
4)around 2006'ish, they came up with the Legacy system. The legacy system command space was much larger (ie the number of commands it could send/receive). I forget the number, but Legacy supported a way lot more. It allowed for advanced features that TMCC could not support because it ran out of command space from what I recall. Legacy is a superset of TMCC, so Legacy command system can control TMCC engines. A TMCC base 1 can also control legacy engines, just won't be able to control advanced stuff, as others said.
They also have the powermaster unit, that is the successor to the TPC. A powermaster has fixed voltage into it, and the tmcc/legacy base can talk to it to vary voltage, change direction, etc. It is not hardwired, a powermaster is like an engine on the track, the command base can address it using the same legacy broadcast the engines read. Like the TPC, operating a conventional engine using this and a command engine on the same track won't work well because of the varying voltage.
5)In the last 10 years Lionel introduced a new form of command control, called Lionchief. It was not legacy/tmcc based, it had its own remote control paired to the engine. The original lionchief could only operate using the control, it didn't support conventional operation ie track voltage. The remote was unique to the engine. Like prior command control, it uses fixed voltage to the track. It was really designed for use in train sets as a way to allow use of command control without the complexity /cost of Legacy since the remote was included, and all you needed was 18 v to the track for this to work.
This evolved, lionchief + allows conventional operation. Lionel then came out with a universal remote that can operate up to 3 lionchief engines (I think it is 3).
They came out then with lionchief 2.0. This allows using the remote (I was wondering why the unit I bought didn't have the remote!), it also can be controlled using the Lionel app on phones/smart devices via bluetooth connectivity, it also can be controlled from the legacy command base as well (I don't think TMCC will work with it,but not sure).
6)With ZW, Lionel has a current generation, the ZW-L. It is a modern transformer, has the quick blow circuit breakers built in, and has 620 watts power distributed on 4 channels (the only ZW was 275 theoretically, probably more like 190 output side. One nice feature it has is that all 4 channels have the equivalent of powermaster built in, which the legacy base can address and change the output voltage to the track. So rather than buy a separate powermaster, it is built into all 4 channels.
The downside is the cost, it is close to 1k these days. I am still kicking myself, could have had it for like 630 on a labor say sale just before the price soared.....ah well.
And yes, you can use a traditional ZW, as others have said you will want to put a fast blow breaker or fuse on the power to the track (there have been a ton of threads on here about this topic, easy to find in search), and you might also want to put a TVS (a kind of diode) across the hot/return going to the track (this suppresses voltage surges, the way a good power strip does), it is there to suppress transient voltage surges. Again, if you do a search on here for ZW or TVS, you will find a ton of info. It isn't that the ZW outpowers the engines, it is that the ZW if you have a short has a breaker that is slow and is designed to protect the transformer, hence the need for an external fast blow breaker or fuse.