Rugby has always been a centre for the surrounding farming communities, and a weekly cattle market continued to be held in the town until April 2008, but it was the coming of the London & Birmingham Railway in 1838 that caused a significant expansion of the town.
In 1840, a junction with the Midland Counties Railway from Leicester was completed. Major railway yards and other heavy engineering industries developed in the town.
The decline of heavy engineering and the downgrading of the railway facilities led to a decline in the town. However, efforts have been made to exploit the central location of the town to attract new businesses and distribution centres to the area.
Rugby railway station is located less than a mile from the town centre (the Clock Tower), with the entrance to Rugby School about 400 yards further on.
Situated on the West Coast main line there are express services to and from London approximately hourly operated by Virgin Trains  The typical journey time is 55 minutes. There are direct services to Liverpool, North Wales, the Lake District and Glasgow, each served two or three times a day. Advanced booking of tickets and travel outside of peak periods (7.00 - 9.00 to London, 17.00 - 19.00 from London) is strongly recommended to avoid the highest fares.
Local services to Coventry (12 mins.) and Birmingham (New Street)(45mins.), and to Northampton (30mins.) are operated by London Midland  hourly in each direction.
Rugby's central location in England has resulted in an excellent road network.
Rugby is situated close to the junction of the M1 and M6 motorways, with Junction 18 of the M1 being five miles to the east and Junction 1 of the M6 three miles north of the town. The M45, a short spur off the M1 terminates near the village of Dunchurch, three miles south of Rugby.
The A14 trunk road linking the Midlands with East Anglia and the East Coast starts at Catthorpe, which is four miles northeast of the town.
Two major Roman roads pass close to the town. The Fosse Way which was built to link Exeter with Lincoln passes six miles to the west, and the Watling Street linking London with North Wales comes within four miles to the east of the town. The Watling Street (A45) still carries considerable heavy traffic, whereas the Fosse Way (B4455) has become a local road, although popular during the holiday season with motorists travelling to the West Country wishing to take a more scenic and less congested route.
Birmingham International airport , situated midway between Coventry and Birmingham is 25 miles from Rugby. Flights operate daily to most major European cities and also to Newark, New Jersey, and Dubai. There is an hourly service to Birmingham International railway station from early morning to late evening, journey time 25 mins.
There is a comprehensive network of buses, mainly operated by Stagecoach liinking Rugby town centre with the outlying suburbs and with many of the nearby villages. Tickets can be purchased from the driver, and change is given.
Buses link the railway station with the town centre every 12 min.
There are also regular bus services to the neighbouring towns of Leamington Spa, Banbury, Northampton, Leicester and Coventry which afford an opportunity to enjoy the surrounding countryside of "Leafy Warwickshire" in a leisurely manner.
Rugby has a mix of shops from the unique and independent retailers found mainly in the Regent Street, Albert Street, Bank Street and Castle Street areas, to the larger high street names including those found in the Clock Towers Shopping Centre located in the town centre. Here are just some of the independent retailers found in Rugby:
The Three Horse Shoes Close to Rugby School and main shopping area. Originally an 18th century coaching inn.
The Carlton Hotel  Convenient for the railway station.
The Diamond House Hotel  Close to recreation ground and sports centre. Convenient for Rugby School.
The Woodville Hotel  Convenient for Rugby School.
Out of Town
Brownsover Hall  Grade II listed Victoria Gothic mansion in its own grounds.
ibis Rugby East  Ibis Hotel Rugby East is located to the East of Rugby Town near Junction 18 of the M1. The ibis Hotel Rugby East is located close to all major distribution, exhibition and conference centres in the area.
Stanford Hall  is a 17th century stately home situated seven miles away, just over the border with Leicestershire. It is closely associated with the early days of flight, and the River Avon flows through the grounds.