From the construction of the Manx Electric Railway, it was the intention to operate a Car with two trailers, hence three motors and six trailers were initially ordered. However, tests with a Car pulling two trailers proved unfavorable, as the 2 x 25hp Mather and Platt motors initially fitted to the 1 to 3 series could not handle the load, and thus, the sight today of Car and Trailer became the most common. The formation was used to test the 1898 E.C.C equipment in 1901 with Car No.19 (with original E.C.C equipment generating 80hp in total) reported to haul hauling two 44-48 series Trailers with little trouble.
By the 1960s and until the mid-1970s, a practice was introduced that involved some of the lightweight Trailers (36-37, 49-54, 60) being moved during the Winter for storage at Laxey and Ramsey Car Sheds. This involved the moving of two of them at a time, usually following back down the next year for use on services. Also, it was common for two trailers to be brought down from Derby Castle Car Shed to the departure stop in convoy by a car for use on passenger services, 1 being available for use by another Car after shunting had taken place.
The concept was re-introduced during the 1990s for enthusiast events, using two lightweight trailers. 1995, the first year, saw the use of the following combinations:
Car No.33/Trailer No.37/Trailer No.60 – May 3rd – Derby Castle-Ramsey and return, August 28th – Derby Castle-Laxey and return,
Car No.7/Trailer No.37/Trailer No.60 – August 24th – Derby Castle-Laxey and return,
Further workings took place in 1996, on May 24th and July 17th (combinations currently unknown). However, the highlight was the use of Simplex No.22021 on July 18th and 25th to haul a pair of lightweight Trailers from Laxey to Minorca (A car providing shunt release for it at Minorca, and to haul the Trailers back).
The rest of the decade saw further appearances of the formation at special events, with:
Car No.19/Trailer No.49/Trailer No.51 – Late July 1997 – Derby Castle-Laxey and return,
Car No.1/Trailer No.49/Trailer No.60 – 18/08/1998 – Derby Castle-Laxey and return,
Car No.16/Trailer No.49/Trailer No.60 – 23/07/1999 – Derby Castle-Laxey and return,
running at the enthusiast events, ‘Steam 125’ and ‘Ramsey Centenary’ gala weeks.
Operation again took place for the 2000 Gala Fortnight, with ‘Illuminated’ Car No.9 hauling Trailer No.37 and Trailer No.60 from Derby Castle to Ramsey and return. A private hire for the Isle of Man 50 Group on August 2nd 2002 saw the use of Car No.33/Trailer No.37/Trailer No.49, operating from Derby Castle to Ramsey and return, and became the last to run on the M.E.R for 7 years.
For a TLP Tours Charter on the August 4th 2009, the idea was re-introduced, with the combination of Car No.32/Trailer No.46/Trailer No.51 was used, operating from Derby Castle to Ballaskeig and return. 2010 saw the operation of Car No.33/Trailer No.51/Trailer No.59 on two occassions, the first for a ‘Evening Experience’ TLP Tours Charter on August 4th from Derby Castle to Ballaskeig and return, and the second for two round trips to Ramsey on September 22nd, as part of the ‘Tramways Gathering’ event.
A repeat of the event for the July 2011 Transport Festival saw Car No.33/Trailer No.46/Trailer No.59 operating the 10:10 diagram from Derby Castle to Ramsey. Trailer No.46 was left at Ramsey, while Car No.33 and Trailer No.59 operated a return journey to Derby Castle, picking up Trailer No.46 on the return.
The most recent occurrence on the 30th of May 2013 saw Car No.20 working with Trailer No.59/Trailer No.47, albeit not as a pre-planned special event! Car No.9 was stopped at Ramsey with a fault, leaving Trailer No.59 as the station; Car No.21 working the 17.40 ex Derby Castle single motor so that both motor cars could be stored overnight in Ramsey Car Shed. Trailer No.59 was therefore brought back to Douglas on the back of Car No.20 and Trailer No.47 as the 17:40 Ramsey-Derby Castle. Discounting special events, this is believed to be the only time it has happened in normal passenger service!