The Neath and Brecon railway has a terminus in the town.
A large industrial area around Neath is supplied from Ystradfellte.
Neath is included in the Swansea parliamentary district of boroughs.
Copper smelting has been carried on in or near the town since 1584 when the Mines Royal Society set up works at Neath Abbey; the industry attained huge proportions a century later under Sir Humphrey Mackworth, who from 16 9 5 carried on copper and lead smelting at Melincrythan.
A canal connecting the tidal part of the river Neath with the mouth of the Tawb, made in 1789, was in 1824 connected with the Vale of Neath canal by means of an aqueduct across the Neath river, when also a small dock, Port Tennant (so named after its owner) or Salthouse Dock, was made near the east pier, and this continued to be used till 1880.