This paper presents new annual estimates of railway extension in Italian provinces at 1913 borders for the period 1839-1913. The main operator of the Italian railway network ("Ferrovie dello Stato") published in 1911 a unique set of homogeneous historical five year maps illustrating the routes of existing railway lines during 1861-1909. These eleven maps were all scanned and georeferenced in an ArcGIS-project. The resulting database was integrated with the information available in historical sources. As a second step, to allocate the various sections of railway lines to Italian provinces, we used a historical digital map (in ArcGIS shapefile format) of Italian provinces freely available on the SISTAT section of the ISTAT (Italian National Institute of Statistics) website. The new estimates were systematically checked against those reported at various geographical scale in the historical sources and in the more recent literature.